Should you rinse after brushing your teeth?
From a young age, you were probably taught to brush your teeth well at least twice a day, swishing and spitting with water when you were done. But some people say it diminishes the benefits of good dental hygiene. So, should you rinse after brushing your teeth?
While it’s certainly not the end of the world if you wash your mouth out after brushing, there are a few reasons to consider skipping this step. Here’s how to get the best results from your dental hygiene.
The importance of good dental hygiene
While taking care of your teeth and gums might not seem as important as other aspects of health like your blood pressure or heart health, oral hygiene is actually an essential part of maintain your general health.
Your mouth contains a plethora of bacteria, some good and some potentially harmful. And since this is the main point of entry into your digestive and respiratory tracts, a “dirty” mouth could make it easier for disease-causing bacteria to enter either of these systems. according to the Mayo Clinic.
Fortunately, your body’s immune system naturally fights off many germs, but proper oral hygiene, such as regular brushing and flossing, also helps keep them from getting out of hand. It also prevents bacteria from causing tooth decay, gum disease, and mouth infections, as you probably know if you’ve ever seen a single toothpaste commercial.
The Mayo Clinic further warns that poor oral health can contribute to several serious health conditions, including:
- Endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart chambers or valves, which usually occurs when certain bacteria spread through the blood.
- Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease, clogged arteries, and stroke, which may be linked to inflammation and infections caused by bacteria in the mouth.
- Complications of pregnancy and childbirth.
- Pneumonia, which can be caused by certain bacteria traveling from the mouth to the lungs.
Now that we know why taking care of your mouth is so important – beyond having a beautiful smile and pleasant breath – let’s get back to the question.
Should you rinse after brushing your teeth?
According to the American Dental Association, there are several steps to brushing your teeth properly. You should start with a toothbrush with soft bristles that fits comfortably in your mouth. Holding the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to the gums, you should begin to gently move it back and forth in small strokes, covering one tooth with each stroke.
Move between the outer, inner and chewing surfaces of the teeth, tilting the toothbrush vertically and making up and down strokes on the inner surfaces. The ADA says to brush for two minutes twice a day.
After brushing, spit out any excess toothpaste. But, following this step, should you rinse after brushing your teeth?
The Oral Health Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving oral health and wellness around the world, says rinsing after brushing your teeth is one of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to toothbrushing. oral care. The organization found in a study that 62% of adults rinse after brushing, which can make you more likely to develop tooth decay.
“Rinsing your mouth with water is very bad for our teeth because it removes the protective fluoride left over from brushing,” said Dr. Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation. “Fluoride is the most important ingredient in toothpaste. It greatly helps oral health by strengthening tooth enamel, making it more resistant to tooth decay. It also reduces the amount of acid produced by bacteria present on your teeth.
Also, it’s a good idea to avoid eating or drinking anything at night after brushing.
Should you use mouthwash?
Although not necessary for healthy teeth and gums, using mouthwash can be a beneficial part of your hygiene routine. For example, when added to regular flossing and brushing, rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash has been shown to significantly reduce plaque and gingivitis.
However, it is important to use mouthwash the right way. Rinsing with mouthwash before brushing allows you to enjoy the product features you want, such as fresh breath or whiter teeth, without stripping away the fluoride provided by your toothpaste. You can also choose to rinse and spit with mouthwash between brushings so you don’t negate the benefits of the toothpaste.
Other toothbrushing tips
While experts warn against rinsing after brushing, there are other things you can incorporate into your dental hygiene routine to have the healthiest teeth, gums, and body possible.
For example, the ADA recommends clean between teeth once a day to help remove plaque, food particles and bacteria in the spaces and below the gum line that your toothbrush bristles can’t reach.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises rinsing your toothbrush after brushing, letting it air dry, and storing it upright to prevent the spread of germs.
Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if the bristles wear out or brushing isn’t as effective. A balanced diet without lots of sugary drinks and snacks will also promote a healthy mouth. Of course, you should also visit a dentist regularly to prevent and treat oral diseases.