Brushing your teeth is a habit that most of us have been doing since we were little. Have you ever wondered why we are told to brush our teeth?
Brushing your teeth has many benefits that can help you prevent plaque build-up and tooth decay. However, there is one thing that you should stop doing after brushing your teeth, and it’s rinsing your mouth out with water.
Rinsing after brushing allows the protective fluoride coating to stay on your teeth longer and continue do its job, which is to strengthen the enamel and fight tooth decay. The American Dental Association recommends not rinsing your mouth with water after brushing in order to keep the full amount of fluoride in your mouth for as long as possible.
Wait at least 30 minutes before rinsing
If you rinse your mouth after brushing, you might be undoing all the good work that brushing does. Rinsing right after brushing — with water or with an antiseptic mouthwash — reduces the amount of fluoride in your saliva. And that means you’ll have less protection from cavities for the next several hours.
Remineralization is the process of rebuilding tooth enamel and reversing early signs of tooth decay. One way to do this is with concentrated exposure to fluoride, which can be found in toothpaste or tap water in some areas. Remineralization requires a high concentration of fluoride that can only be achieved if you don’t rinse out your mouth with water or mouthwash after brushing.
Fluoride’s job is to remineralize tooth enamel; it replenishes the minerals that acids left behind after eating and drinking. Fluoride also helps repair acid damage that’s already occurred.
When you rinse right after brushing, either with water or mouthwash, there’s not enough fluoride left in your saliva to do its job. That’s why dentists recommend waiting at least 30 minutes before rinsing, eating or drinking after brushing a typical fluoride toothpaste.