The reason why you shouldn’t rinse your teeth after brushing

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If you’ve always rinsed your teeth with water after brushing, there’s a good reason to skip this step for good. Until last year, I rinsed thoroughly after brushing my teeth to get rid of the remnants of toothpaste left in my mouth. However, after watching a dentist’s video on TikTok, I discovered that this method was not the most effective.

Instead, I now spit out as much toothpaste as I can without rinsing with water to allow the toothpaste to do its job a bit longer. However, I didn’t know why I was doing this – or what the benefits were – until I spoke with an expert.

I spoke to Dr. Edmond Hewlett, consumer advisor for the American Dental Association and professor at the UCLA School of Dentistry, to find out why you shouldn’t rinse your mouth out with water after brushing your teeth. . Here is the answer.

Read more: Best electric toothbrush for 2022

Why it’s important not to rinse with water after brushing your teeth

Fluoride is an important ingredient in toothpaste that helps make enamel harder and more resistant to acids that cause cavities. Hewlett says it’s the most well-established effective ingredient in toothpaste, so make sure yours contains fluoride.

When you brush your teeth, you clean dandruff and bacteria from sugary foods and drinks. When you go further and skip the rinse, you leave the fluoride from the toothpaste in your mouth longer, giving you a better fluoride effect.

Wait at least 15 minutes after brushing to drink water. After brushing your teeth, Hewlett says, your saliva will wash away the toothpaste so you won’t taste it all day.

What if you’ve rinsed your whole life?

If you’ve just discovered this trick, you might think you’ve canceled all your daily brushing work. But this is not true. Hewlett says that as long as you brush the standard twice a day for two minutes each time, the fluoride will stay in your mouth to help protect your teeth.

You continue to do what you need to do to have good oral health to protect your teeth. The idea of ​​not rinsing is just one more step to help fluoride work even more effectively.

“When you measure a person’s fluoride levels in their saliva, if they don’t rinse, there’s more fluoride,” Hewlett said. But it will not be a waste of time if you rinse. He said research is still being done to determine what difference it makes in the long term to preventing cavities.

whitening toothpaste

Check that your toothpaste contains fluoride.

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Your specific dental health also plays a role

There are different levels of risk of having cavities per person, Hewlett said.

“If you don’t usually have cavities, you should continue to use fluoride toothpaste. The decision to rinse or not rinse after brushing probably won’t make a difference.”

On the other hand, for those battling cavities, not rinsing is probably a better decision. Also, you should get help from your dentist to find out why you regularly get cavities – for example, it could be your eating habits, snacking on sugary foods or not brushing your teeth regularly. If you’re at higher risk for cavities, you need to do everything you can to prevent them.

Is it okay to use mouthwash to rinse your teeth after brushing?

It’s okay as long as you use a mouthwash that also contains fluoride so you can still get the same effect. Otherwise, without fluoride, it’s like a water rinse.

More toothbrushing tips

Here are some additional tips to keep your oral health up to par.

  • Always use a toothbrush with soft bristles, never medium or hard. Hewlett says anything not gentle can increase the risk of gum recession.
  • It doesn’t matter if you floss before or after brushing your teeth, as long as you floss once a day to remove stuck-on plaque and food.
  • You don’t have to brush your teeth aggressively to clean them. While scrubbing your dishes with extra force can make them cleaner, it’s not necessary for your teeth and can also lead to gum recession.
  • Gently brush along the gum line with a soft bristled brush to help prevent gum disease.
  • Always consult your dentist for personalized advice. They understand what your oral health profile looks like.

To find out more, here is the best time to brush your teeth in the morning.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

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