A Minimalist Hack: Use the Same Toothpaste (Repost)

I started this blog a little over a year ago and, for the first few months, had basically no readership. But then a friend commented on the post below – originally from May 25th 2021 – and I’ve had a special affinity for it ever since. I wanted to form an online community to talk about the big stuff – like mental health and parenting, but also a space where we could talk about the hassle of finding public bathrooms while on vacation…and toothpaste habits.

So without further ado, and because I think current readers will have some very fun comments on this topic, a repost:


I’m no grassroots minimalist. My family has a storage room full of boxes: camping supplies, Christmas decorations, and plenty of creations from the preschool era. Marie Kondo could surely help us find lots to purge. But, overall, we appreciate clean aesthetics and are always looking for ways to reduce friction with regard to how our home functions.

Take toothpaste.

When Abby was young, I remember debating – for an inordinate amount of time – what toothpaste flavour to select for her maturing teeth. The pharmacy aisle was full of options. Would she prefer Berry Blast, Strawberry Swirl, or Bubble Gum Twist? Each brand – and there were many – had its own combination of tube characteristics (twist cap vs. flip; hard tube vs. soft). I hadn’t even gotten to the fluoride vs. no fluoride conundrum yet and was already completely overwhelmed. Should buying toothpaste for a 3-year-old really be this hard?

Then one day, during a well-check visit with our doctor, she happened to bring up teeth-brushing. She mentioned, in an off-hand way: “Feel free to use a rice-sized amount of whatever toothpaste you’re using.”

Surely it wasn’t right to deprive my firstborn of whatever bold-coloured, highly-flavoured concoction the big conglomerates told me she should have? But, I grew up on regular Crest…and I don’t think it held me back in life.

Since then, our entire family has used the same toothpaste (Colgate with Scope); my kids don’t even know they could be frothing at the mouth with Minion-themed Cotton Candy.

Not only does it require fewer decisions at the store, since we all use the toothpaste interchangeably, I only pack a single tube when we travel (we also all use the same bodywash and shampoo).

Your turn. Do you use different products from your kids or spouse?

22 thoughts on “A Minimalist Hack: Use the Same Toothpaste (Repost)”

  1. AH! Well, we do use the same toothpaste, and I agree that makes things way easier. But that’s where it ends. We all use different shampoos, conditioners, body wash, soap, etc. Well- I don’t really care what kind of soap I use, but my daughter especially has very specific products that none of the rest of us use. That is GREAT that your entire family uses the same bodywash and shampoo as well. I’ll be curious to hear if Abby starts to want her own products as she gets older.
    I love moments like the one you described with the doctor- and you have the sudden realization that it really CAN be that easy!

    1. Yes, I suspect the products will become more specific over time for Abby especially.
      When the kids were little we had different soap/shampoo that was tear-free, but for now I am very much enjoying the limited product line in our shower stall…while it lasts!

  2. Dental stuff if not a great example in our house. My husband has weak enamel/teeth and I have bad gums. We require absolutely different dental products, right down to different floss. It’s insane and we spend so much money and our bathroom cabinet is divided into a his and hers side just so we don’t use each other’s products. We’re also this way with skincare products (his skin is super oily and mine is dry) and we could never use the same soap/body wash/shampoo. And don’t get me started on the kitchen – how I’d love to have just one of everything, but we have multiples for health/food restriction reasons. We try to be relatively minimalist in our purchases, but it turns out that there are some things we can’t really do that with and I’ve sort of settled into that as the way it has to be!

    1. I knew you had major challenges with the food restrictions, but I didn’t know about the dental woes. And then poor Hannah and all her layered health challenges. You are a master at juggling all the needs of everyone in the household. Kudos for that. This all sounds very frustrating and this raises an important point: there are always going to be some areas – or potentially many areas – where taking this minimalistic route simply will not work.
      People trump minimalism any day and we all want our loved ones to thrive and sometimes that includes a range of dental products on his/her sides!

  3. Oh how I WISH we had done this! My kid refuses to use mint toothpaste because we got her started on the fruit-flavored kid stuff. But I don’t think I could ever share a tube with her — she gets toothpaste ALL over the cap. Gross!

    1. Mint is basically all the kids have known, so they don’t know any better.

      I guess I should clarify. The kids share a tube of toothpaste (it’s the same kind John and I use) and then John and I share a tube in our ensuite. I almost never brush my teeth in the “main” bathroom the kids use and I don’t even keep a toothbrush in there. So while we all use the exact same toothpaste, most of the time I don’t have to handle/use the kids tube. That said, I haven’t noticed a lot of toothpaste on the cap? My main frustration is over the last week they have suddenly started leaving the cap off. How have we avoided this for so many years and now when they KNOW BETTER, they’re starting this annoying habit?

  4. We unfortunately all use different toothpaste. Although my son doesn’t care, I think I did buy him “regular” toothpaste for the downstairs washroom. Upstairs for my daughter, husband and I – it’s all different. My daughter does the minion fruity flavour. She hates mint so I would have a hard time shifting that. My husband leaves the cap off. all. the. time. Makes me crazy so I keep mine with the cap on in a different spot.
    Shampoo and soap is more shared. We have two kinds because of dry hair vs not.
    When we travel I do two toothpaste and one shampoo. For the shorter times it all works!

    Now I need to focus on getting rid of clutter – especially the kids clutter. That is one of my goals for this summer and have not tackled yet.

    1. I laughed out loud when you mentioned your husband leaving the cap off…so you just have yours, with a cap on, in a different spot. Hilarious.
      I’ve got to ask – do you put the toilet paper on the same way (and I firmly believe there is only one right way)?

      1. Yes! And if someone puts it on the “wrong” way I will fix it. Always over the top!
        I’m fairly laid back on many things. I guess toothpaste caps and toilet paper aside…hmmm…!

        1. I’m so relieved. You also know there is only one correct way to hang toilet paper and that is over the top. Can you believe some people just hang it randomly? Somehow that almost seems worse than consistently putting it under the bottom. Also a horrible mistake, but at least they’re intentional about their poor choice.

  5. Oh! so guilty of not doing this. The ten year old uses a different toothpaste from the two littles from me from my husband. That’s a lot of toothpaste to keep track of. We will share in a pinch, but quite disgruntlely.
    But… there was about half a year when all the kids wore the same sock size. They were a squoosh small for the oldest, fit the middle perfectly and were a shade too big for the littlest. It felt magical and simple, even though the socks did not all match in colour or pattern, the kids were happy to wear mismatched socks as long as they fit.

    1. Everyone in the same socks sounds great! I actually bought some ankle socks that the kids can both fit into. Unfortunately, there is a catch – they’re black, white, and grey and I have the adult version in the SAME colours. The difference is subtle, but enough that while it’s nearly impossible to distinguish when matching socks, if I put on the kid’s size it is too small and very a frustrating experience.
      I got a great deal on the socks, but fully regret the purchase because I bought a HUGE 20-pack for the kids, and that means I’m going to be dealing with this laundry challenge…for years.

  6. We used to use the same toothpaste and soap/body wash/shamposs; but not anymore. I use toothpaste for sensitive teeth (works wonders) and he claims that it tastes “gross” and demands Crest. Whatever. The different soap/body wash/shampoo came about because I need a medicated shampoo and he decided he didn’t like body wash – which I was fine with because he used so much of it that it felt like I was buying body wash every week.

    1. Ha. I will admit, I’m not a huge fan of the sensitive-teeth toothpaste either! But it does work. I’ve needed it a few times in the past and find it does the trick, but once things are improved, I’m back to my beloved Colgate with Scope.
      I also switched our family back to bar soap (90% of the time) because I find it lasts SO much longer (sometimes the kids would pour out body wash, but then it would get showered away before they could actually get it on to a washcloth. I actually think I prefer bar soap, too. It seems gentler on the skin and a lot less bulky plastic packaging in our shower stall/the recycling bin.

  7. We should have done this with our son but he uses “kid” toothpaste. Phil and I use the same toothpaste, though, but we are not brand loyal. He buys the toothpaste and picks what is on sale. We have 4 tubes of toothpaste, though! Phil brushes his teeth upstairs at night and on the main floor in the morning. I always brush them in our room, morning and night, but will use the mainfloor toothbrush if I am going somewhere for dinner or something. Paul/Will have toothpaste upstairs in their bathroom and in the mainfloor bathroom. Where they brush their teeth varies, but Paul nearly always brushes his teeth (well, we brush his teeth – we don’t let him brush his own teeth yet) on the main level before leaving for school. So it’s kind of excessive to have multiple tubes of toothpaste/toothbrushes but they all get used regularly!

  8. Goodness reading the comments – so many bathrooms in some houses! We have one bathroom in our house, which is not big enough for another one anywhere else, all that cleaning………

    Toothpaste, I had to think about how many tubes we have here, I make my own which use it is not in a tube but a glass jar, sometimes my daughter uses it too, she also has a tube of fennel toothpaste. Husband and son have a mint one.

    1. We have one “big” bathroom and then 2 extra toilets – it’s an older house from the 1970s. I know some people that have more bathrooms than bedrooms!?! I will say, we use all our bathrooms regularly and I really enjoy having that many, especially as we have company quite regularly. 3 seems to be a good number for our house configuration. But it is a nuisance to keep that many bathrooms clean!
      My parents current home has only one…and an outhouse. The kids are not big fans of the latter option.

  9. Absolutely 100% agree, but sometimes, well, one half of a partnership can’t fathom changing their favorite brand/type/form of whatever (soap, toothpaste, etc.) and then the divisions persist. I was lucky enough to be in your shoes when I shared living space (and toothpaste, obviously!) with my ex. Simple is easier. We even found middle ground on food – despite my minor allergies, and our very different preferences. Turns out there is a lot of room to meet in the middle on these types of things, if both are willing and able to do so. 🙂

    1. Very true. I’m so glad we see eye-to-eye on things. And, well, the kids often don’t get a say in these sorts of thigns!

  10. The husband and I used to use the same tooth paste for years. But then I developed some sort of allergy and could stand the very minty ones. So we ended up using different ones for the past two years. Just a couple weekends ago when we traveled I only packed his travel sized one and so I had to use. It felt like my tongue was burnt up. but other than that I also grew up with everyone using the same toothpaste.

    1. I know a lot of people don’t like “spicy” toothpaste, as our kids call it. Thankfully, they’ve been fine with it. I suspect for most kids it would be too strong, but it’s all our kids have known!

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