Do you spit or rinse after brushing your teeth? It’s a question that was posed by Queensland Health earlier this week online and it was at this point that I learned I had been approaching my teeth-brushing habits wrong all along.
While the results of the poll were evenly split, with 50.5% of voters saying they rinse, QLD Health took this opportunity to point out that rinsing is actually not the right course of action.
Hello to our rinsers. 👋 Did you know if you rinse straight after brushing, the water washes away the toothpaste left on your teeth?
By spitting after brushing, you leave a thin layer of toothpaste on your teeth, which can act as a protective barrier for each tooth. 🦷
— Queensland Health (@qldhealth) February 22, 2023
As a decades-long rinser, I am mind-blown by this piece of information. A quick poll of my colleagues had similar results, finding that nearly 50% of us remain serial rinsers. The others apparently knew that there is some benefit to avoiding the post-brush rinse.
Upon researching this I found that there are in fact numerous sources out there advising us of this oral health fact.
SA Dental had a similar statement to QLD Health, saying that by not rinsing “fluoride in the toothpaste will stay on your teeth for longer helping to keep them strong.”
Toothpaste company Sensodyne goes into this a bit further saying:
The active ingredient in most toothpastes is a mineral called fluoride. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by remineralizing the enamel and making teeth more resistant to acid attacks. Rinsing your mouth can prematurely wash out the fluoride that is working on your teeth. By spitting out toothpaste then not rinsing it out with water, the fluoride in the toothpaste will remain in the mouth and continue to be effective.
The same goes for using mouthwash immediately after brushing, as Sensodyne points out this will also wash away the fluoride left by your toothbrush. However, it does suggest you rinse after flossing your teeth to help remove any bits of dislodged plaque or food.
The easiest switch for your routine here seems to be to switch from rinsing after brushing to rinsing after flossing instead, which should hopefully also serve as a reminder to floss!
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