Brushing Teeth Mindfully

Chances are you’re brushing your teeth every day, so it’s an opportunity to practice being mindful and “sense-full”.  Sense-fullness is a term that came to me while I was early in my mindfulness journey. It was easier for me to be in the present when I was focused on experiencing life through my senses.   I am not sure why that is – maybe the physical senses aren’t as judgmental as the mind/brain, and so we’re able to stay connected to the moment. Maybe our senses are eager to do their thing and have us notice!  (more on sense-fullness here)

Time Required: 
3-5 minutes (as long as it takes to brush your teeth)
You’ll need:
Toothbrush, toothpaste
Floss (if you’re feeling ambitious!)
Body Position:
Your typical teeth-brushing stance
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Steps:

  1. Prepare as you normally would, what you need to brush your teeth.
  2. As you put the toothbrush in your mouth, pay attention to the physical sensations in your mouth.  Consider the gums on your top row of teeth and the bottom, as well as your lips, tongue and roof of your mouth.  It can be helpful to describe the sensations to yourself – tingly, cold, bubbly, minty, painful, pleasurable – there’s no wrong answer here!

3. Are there parts of your mouth that have no sensation or less sensation?  That’s helpful to notice too.

4. When your mind drifts to thoughts other than brushing your teeth, which it will, gently bring your attention back to the act of brushing.  If you get bored or irritated with the practice, notice any and all emotion WITHOUT judgment (that can be difficult, but just do your best).

That’s all.  It takes no extra time in your day to do this practice, and demonstrates that you can bring mindfulness to ANY activity or moment of our waking life.

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