A healthy mouth is a happy mouth; when it comes to preventing oral health problems and maintaining a dazzling smile, regular oral hygiene is crucial—and this includes brushing your teeth twice a day! But sometimes excess toothpaste or little bits of debris can remain in our mouths after brushing, and many of us instinctively rinse our mouths out immediately. But is this habit okay, or is it something that you should avoid doing? Keep reading to learn more.
The Impact of Fluoride
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that is found in many of the foods you eat and is also often added to drinking water and oral hygiene products. Fluoride is important for preventing tooth decay; however, it’s most effective when in direct contact with your teeth for several minutes. When this happens, it is able to re-mineralize the enamel of your teeth and fortify them. This helps to increase their resistance to daily wear-and-tear like chewing—that said, fluoride is very good for your teeth!
Is It Okay to Rinse After Brushing My Teeth?
There isn’t a yes or no answer here. Ideally, you want to give fluoride the opportunity to sit on your teeth—so if you’re rinsing out your mouth immediately after brushing, you’re washing away the ingredient that is meant to help you!
Even mouthwashes that contain fluoride can still remove a lot of the heavily concentrated fluoride from your toothpaste. The U.K.’s Oral Health Foundation recommends that instead of rinsing your mouth out with water after brushing, simply spit out any excess saliva or toothpaste. They also recommend waiting at least 10 minutes before eating or drinking anything.
Even though rinsing after brushing can impact the effectiveness of fluoride, there are still benefits to the habit:
- It emulates your mouth’s natural flow of saliva and helps to wash away excess debris and bacteria that can sometimes linger after you’ve brushed.
- It reduces the risk of swallowing excess fluoride and lessens the aftertaste of some cleaning products.
Are There Any Risks to Not Rinsing After Brushing?
Even though it’s generally considered safe to forgo rinsing after brushing your teeth, there are a few side effects linked with ingesting fluoride including abdominal pain, diarrhea, and some oral health issues including TMJ disorder and fluorosis. Most cleaning products contain fluoride levels meant for adults, so a larger risk exists when children ingest it; but a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste is usually harmless.
It’s up to you to decide if you want to rinse your mouth after brushing—but by knowing the impact that fluoride has on your teeth , you’re better prepared to adjust your habit if necessary to help preserve your oral health.
About the Practice
Vista Dental Care is proud to serve patients and families in the Sparks, NV community. They are led by Dr. Marc Thomas, who received his dental doctorate from the University of the Pacific and has several years of experience in a wide variety of fields. Dr. Thomas is also a member of several professional organizations, including the American Dental Association, the Northern Nevada Dental Society, and the Academy of General Dentistry. If you have any questions about the article or would like to make an appointment with Dr. Thomas, feel free to reach out through his website or by phone: (775) 626-3535.