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Kosher Toothpaste/Brushing on Shabbos

Are all toothpastes and mouthwash (listerine) and (scope) flavored floss kosher to use?

Is it not problomatic to brush teeth on shabbat even with liquid toothpaste since one may bleed?


According to the strict halachah, toothpastes do not require a hechsher, and are all kosher to use (see Har Tzvi, Yoreh De’ah 95). The reason for this is that they are not food, and are considered pagum–not suitable for consumption. In addition, there is no intention of swallowing the toothpaste, and tasting alone is only prohibited due to the concern that one might swallow the food, which does not apply for toothpaste. The same reasoning would seemingly apply to mouthwash. However, it is generally customary to apply kashrus standards to these products, and many have some kashrus supervision.

Concerning bleeding gums: If somebody knows that his gums generally bleed upon brushing, he may not brush teeth on Shabbos. However, if a person’s gums generally don’t bleed upon brushing, he need not be concerned for the possibility of bleeding.

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  1. Hello,

    I just read your answer to the question about brushing teeth on Shabath.
    In school, however, we learned that brushing one’s teeth can be osur for other reasons too
    – issur Memareach איסור ממרח (if using toothpaste, which is usually what people do when brushing their teeth)
    – issur sechita איסור סחיטה (if using water)

    The Rabbi then told us that brushing one’s teeth without water and without toothpaste would theoretically not be a problem. However, usually such brushing will result in bleeding of the gums. Only if one’s gums won’t bleed in such case, will it be allowed.

    From your answer I would understand though – (without having learnt what I learnt in school) – that brushing your teeth is allowed, inclusive the use of toothpaste and /or water, as long as the gums don’t bleed.

    Is it possible to adjust the answer? I’m afraid that otherwise it might be a michshol מכשול for people who read it and don’t have broader knowledge from themselves..

    1. You are correct in everything you wrote. Even when using liquid toothpaste the toothpaste should be applied directly to the teeth and not on to the brush. The author was only referring to the specific question that was being asked

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