Q & A Board - View Post
Author:  mark
E-mail:  not available
Date:  7/21/2009 2:45:00 PM
Subject:  Brushing teeth on shabbat
Message:  Shalom,

I read two posts on your site, stating that it is permissible to brush one's teeth on Shabbat with toothpaste.

I was under the impression that this was a no no due to the prohibition of smoothing...

I've attached a response to this effect posted on Torah.org:
QUESTION: Is it permitted to brush one's teeth on Shabbos, with or without toothpaste?

DISCUSSION: The consensus of contemporary poskim is that it is forbidden to use toothpaste on Shabbos(11). Their main concern is that putting toothpaste on the teeth or the brush could result in a transgression of the prohibited Shabbos Labor of memareiach, smoothing.

Brushing without toothpaste is permitted, provided that the following conditions are met:

Use a toothbrush that is designated for Shabbos use only(12). Some poskim require that the Shabbos toothbrush also look different from the weekday one, e.g., a different color or style(13).

Use a soft brush so as not to irritate the gums and cause bleeding. [People with extremely sensitive gums who bleed whenever they brush their teeth may not use a tooth brush at all.]

To avoid the prohibition of sechitah, squeezing, a dry toothbrush should be used. It is, however, permitted to rinse the mouth with cold water first and then use the toothbrush(14).

The tooth brush may not be rinsed off after it is used unless it is going to be used again on that same Shabbos(15).

Please shed some light on this issue.

Reply:  Toda 2 U 2....

We don't work on consensus. If you can explain how Toothpaste fits with Memaraiach, I'd love to hear.

Look up the Melachah. Understand it better.


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