Toothbrush topped with toothpaste
Dentists say wetting the brush before applying toothpaste is more comfortable Hamza Butt/Flickr Creative Commons

In such a divisive world, even something as innocuous as whether you wet your toothbrush before applying toothpaste can become a polarising issue - as proven by a recent debate on Twitter.

Users of the social media website divided into several factions over the topic: those who stick toothpaste straight onto their dry toothbrushes; those who rinse the brush under the tap beforehand; and those who apply the paste and then wet their brushes.

"Do y'all wet the toothbrush first, or put toothpaste on first?" asked one Twitter user.

"Wet the toothbrush, put toothpaste on , wet that boy again . Then brush . That's law," replied another Twitter user.

"Um no just put the toothpaste on THEN wet the brush smh," said another.

But when everything ends up damp in your mouth anyway, does a sprinkling of water before applying toothpaste really affect the plaque-tackling abilities of a tooth-brushing session?

No, British Dental Association, scientific adviser, Professor Damien Walmsley told IBTimes UK.

"A dry brush will increase friction with the bristles while a wet toothbrush adds moisture and for most people, makes the experience more pleasant," he said.

"Whatever your preference, what's essential is that teeth should be brushed twice a day for at least two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste, including last thing at night."

Dr Lisa Creaven of Spotlight Whitening also recommended wetting the toothbrush with warm water prior to brushing for a smoother brushing experience.

She told IBTimes UK: "Although toothpaste contains water that will naturally foam the paste, lubricating the brush prior can make the brushing experience that bit more comfortable.

"There is no right or wrong but again the more comfortable it is, the longer you are likely to brush for and that is what's important."

What is key, however, is not rinsing the mouth immediately after brushing, according to the NHS. Instead, simply spit out excess toothpaste.

Rinsing straight away "will wash away the concentrated fluoride in the remaining toothpaste, thus diluting it and reducing its preventative effects."