Should You Rinse After Brushing Your Teeth?

Most of us have had the same routine for brushing our teeth since we were small and first learned the habit: brush, spit, rinse.

But even though it’s natural to have a strong desire to rinse out your mouth with water after brushing, it isn’t always recommended.

Toothpastes that contain fluoride and other ingredients meant to strengthen your tooth enamel might need a bit of extra time on the surface of your teeth for you to get their full benefit.

Let’s cover the pros and cons of rinsing after brushing, so you can decide if it’s time to make a change to your routine.

Are you supposed to rinse after brushing?

Fluoride is a mineral that helps prevent tooth decay, among other benefits. Trace amounts of fluoride are found naturallyTrusted Source in some of the food that you eat, but it’s also added to drinking water and oral health products to help improve dental health.

Fluoride helps your teeth most when it’s applied directly to your teeth. Fluoride that stays put on your teeth for several minutes provides the greatest benefit.

Conventional wisdom around rinsing your mouth out with water after brushing does have some basis in fact. In general, you’re not supposed to swallow high concentrations of fluoride.

Some dental products contain concentrations of fluoride higher than what’s recommended for you to ingest each day. So the strategy of rinsing your mouth out after brushing became common practice as a way to prevent a significant amount of fluoride ingestion.

There’s also the very real desire to want to replace the strong, minty taste of toothpaste in your mouth with something neutral, like water. Rinsing the taste out of your mouth after brushing is sometimes just fulfilling your body’s urge to get rid of the taste. Unfortunately, when you rinse immediately after brushing, you’re erasing a lot of the benefit of applying fluoride to your teeth.

Some experts, including the U.K.’s Oral Health Foundation, now recommend spitting out any excess saliva or toothpaste after you’re done brushing as opposed to rinsing your teeth. Leave the fluoride on your teeth as you go about your day, and try to avoid eating or drinking for 10 minutes or more after brushing is done. There isn’t a lot of up-to-date research on how long, exactly, to leave the toothpaste on your teeth.

According to the American Dental Association, professional fluoride treatments at the dentist office — which are higher concentrations of fluoride than toothpaste — are applied for several minutes, and then you may be asked not to rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes afterward. That is so the fluoride can stay on your teeth. When you brush at home, you may want to also wait before you rinse to maximize the beneficial cavity fighting effect of fluoride.

Potential risks of not rinsing after brushing teeth

It’s generally considered safe for most people to ditch the rinse step after brushing their teeth. However, there some side effects to consider.

Ingesting a large amount of any fluoride dental product is not recommended. Ingesting too much fluoride can result in:

  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal pain

However, these side effects are extremely rare when only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste is used. These side effects also usually only happen when children ingest large amounts of fluoride products meant for adults, or if fluoride products intended for use in the dentist’s office are used inappropriately.

It would be very difficultTrusted Source for a healthy adult to achieve any level of fluoride toxicity simply by swallowing a small amount of toothpaste once in a while.

Takeaway

There’s not a consensus whether you should rinse out your mouth with water after brushing your teeth, but not rinsing could be beneficial for people who are prone to tooth decay.

Skipping a rinse after you brush and only spitting the toothpaste out is better, because it leaves a fluoride coating on your teeth to help protect against cavities. However, rinsing can be helpful to get rid of plaque after flossing, get the taste of toothpaste out of your mouth, and prevent you from swallowing too much fluoride.

Remember that the most important thing is that you practice good oral hygiene every day. Get your dentist’s opinion if you’re still curious or concerned about whether rinsing will make a big difference.

Blog Source from healthline

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