You Don’t Need to Rinse Your Teeth After Brushing. Here’s Why

If you rinse your mouth vigorously with water after brushing your teeth, it may be time to stop. There are actually some benefits to leaving excess toothpaste on your teeth. I used to rinse my mouth after brushing or even re-brush my teeth with a wet toothbrush to get rid of any leftover toothpaste in my mouth. But then I discovered from a dentist’s TikTok video that this wasn’t the most effective approach.

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Instead, I now spit out as much toothpaste as I can without rinsing my mouth with water, so I can make the toothpaste work a little longer. However, until I spoke to an expert, I wasn't sure why I would do this, or what the benefits would be.

I spoke with Dr. Edmund Hewlett, consumer advisor to the American Dental Association and a professor at the UCLA School of Dentistry, to learn why you shouldn't rinse your mouth with water after brushing. The answer is as follows.For more tips, click here Why you should floss before brushing.

Why you shouldn’t rinse your mouth with water after brushing your teeth

Fluoride is an important ingredient in toothpaste and helps make enamel stronger and more resistant to the acids that cause cavities. It's the most recognized active ingredient in toothpaste, so make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride, Hewlett says.

When you brush your teeth, you remove film and bacteria from food and sugary drinks. If you go a step further and don't rinse your mouth, the fluoride in the toothpaste will stay in your mouth longer, resulting in a better fluoride effect.

Wait at least 15 minutes after brushing your teeth before drinking water. Hewlett explains that after you brush your teeth, your saliva clears the toothpaste so you don't taste it throughout the day.

What if you spend your whole life gargling?

If you've just discovered this trick, you might think that all your hard work of brushing your teeth every day is in vain. but it is not the truth. As long as you brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, the fluoride will stay in your mouth and help protect your teeth, Hewlett says.

You are still doing what you need to do to maintain good oral health to protect your teeth. The idea of ​​not flushing is just an extra step that helps the fluoride be more effective.

“When you measure the fluoride level in a person's saliva, if they don't rinse, you'll find that the fluoride level is higher,” Hewlett says. But if you rinse, you won't waste your time. Research is still ongoing to determine its long-term effects on preventing tooth decay, he said.

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Check if your toothpaste contains fluoride.

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Your dental health is important too

Hewlett said everyone's risk for tooth decay is different.

“If you don't normally get cavities, then you should continue to use fluoride toothpaste. The decision to rinse or not rinse after brushing may not make a difference.”

On the other hand, for those who suffer from cavities, not rinsing your mouth may be a better decision. In addition, you should seek help from your dentist to find out the reasons for your frequent cavities. For example, it could be your eating habits, eating sugary foods or not brushing your teeth regularly. If you are at higher risk for tooth decay, you should do everything you can to prevent cavities.

Can I use mouthwash after brushing my teeth?

Most mouthwashes contain less fluoride than toothpaste, so rinsing with mouthwash immediately after brushing can remove the concentrated fluoride from your teeth. Instead, choose to use mouthwash at other times, such as lunch or after coffee.

More brushing tips

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

  • Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush, never medium- or hard-bristled toothbrushes. Anything other than soft can increase the risk of gum recession, Hewlett says.
  • It doesn't matter whether you floss before or after brushing, as long as you floss once a day to remove plaque and stuck-on food.
  • You don’t have to brush hard to clean your teeth. While scrubbing your dishes vigorously may make them cleaner, this is not necessary for your teeth and may cause gum recession.
  • Gently brush your teeth along the gum line with a soft-bristled brush to help prevent gum disease.
  • Always consult your dentist for personalized advice. They understand your oral health.

Want to know more, here are Best time to brush your teeth in the morning.

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