Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Toothpaste Math

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop?


At least, that's about how much patience I have before I shove the entire thing in my mouth and chew it into tiny bits. I guess I'll never really know how many times I can lick a tootsie roll pop.

But, I do know how many times I can use a travel-size tube of toothpaste.

It's 30.

I counted.

For the not-so mathematically inclined, here's what you can get out of your travel-sized toothpaste:
  • a month of brushing your teeth once a day
  • 15 days of brushing your teeth twice a day
  • 10 days of brushing your teeth three times a day

Or, if you are traveling with a friend/partner/spouse:
  • 15 days of brushing your teeth once a day
  • 7.5 days of brushing your teeth twice a day
  • 3.75 days of brushing your teeth three times a day

Or, if you are me and my sister when we were little:
  • 2 delicious toothpaste smoothies*

These figures are based off of a .85 oz (24 g) tube of toothpaste.

This means that the average person uses about .0283 oz (.8 g) of toothpaste per use.

Let's apply this to a normal sized tube of toothpaste!

My mom's toothpaste is 7.8 oz (221 g).

So, I could brush my teeth about 276 times with my mom's toothpaste.

Brushing my teeth twice a day, that tube of toothpaste would last me 138 days, or about 4.6 months.

So I only need to buy 2.65 tubes of toothpaste per year.

Too much time watching Extreme Couponing has convinced me that I should stockpile at least 195 more tubes of toothpaste so that I have enough to last me the rest of my life. Better make it 200, in case I need to teach my future children how to make their own toothpaste smoothie...

*I do not advocate using your travel-sized toothpaste to make smoothies containing various leftover cooking ingredients, spices, and dirt. Been there, done that, it doesn't taste good. It probably isn't very good for your health either. Also, avoid drinking orange juice after brushing your teeth, as it tastes almost as bad as a toothpaste smoothie.


  1. So is there a difference between Crest and Colgate usage?

  2. When does pi come into the equation?

  3. I once knew how many licks it took to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop. I did accomplished this feat as a child. Then I wrote the number down on a piece of paper so I wouldn't forget. And then I lost the paper. Now the world will never know.

  4. *I did accomplished this feat? I'm lapsing into the Kentucky colloquialisms from my childhood.

  5. Katie, I just stumbled across this while sitting surrounded by toiletries, packing for my Inca Trail trip…. because of course I searched for "how many brushes in a travel size toothpaste". Bless your heart for doing the counting. I'm so happy to know that I'm not the only person who does stuff like that. :)

  6. Thank you SOOO much for doing this! You saved me from overpacking toothpaste! (I'm serious! Every bit of space matters when trying to pack light on vacation!) 😊