Do you automatically rinse your mouth out with water after brushing your teeth? According to the UK’s National Smile Month survey, 62% of people do this. You might even rinse with water without thinking, as you clean off your toothbrush, to wash away used paste and dislodged food particles. But should you rinse after brushing? Rinsing with water might not be such a good idea for optimal oral health.
Give Fluoride a Chance to Do Its Thing
If you brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste, you probably know that fluoride can protect your teeth. It remineralizes teeth for better acid resistance, makes tooth enamel stronger and decreases plaque production. But it can’t do this very well if you put it on and then immediately take it off! It’s also a fact that most people don’t spend the recommended two minutes brushing. That’s why experts say you should just spit out the excess paste and leave the toothpaste on your teeth. But shouldn’t you rinse away the bacteria that you’ve dredged up? You can add a little water to some fresh fluoride toothpaste and rinse with that. Some people might not care for this idea, as there may be some residual grittiness.
Another Solution – Rinse with Fluoride Mouthwash after Brushing
If you don’t like the idea of not rinsing with a clear liquid after brushing, consider rinsing with fluorinated mouthwash. This will leave you with a fresh, clean mouth while leaving powerful plaque-fighting fluoride in your mouth until you eat again. It is true that in many cities and towns, tap water contains fluoride. However, quite a few do not. Does your water contain fluoride? Use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s My Water’s Fluoride tool to find out.
Rinsing with a Fluoride Alternative
Not crazy about fluoride? Although the CDC confirms that fluoride and community water fluoridation is safe, there is still some controversy surrounding its use, and some people prefer to use other ingredients to keep their teeth clean and protected against bacteria and plaque. The same “leave toothpaste on teeth” rule holds if you’re brushing with baking soda, coconut oil, myrrh or some other type of non-fluoride toothpaste. These substances are also great for your teeth, but not if they’re rinsed right off. However, there are many kinds of natural mouthwashes available. You can even make your own. In addition to the items mentioned, other ingredients found in fluoride-free mouthwashes include tea tree oil, Echinacea and sea salt. These natural mouthwashes are so popular now, you no longer have to visit a health food store to find them. Most supermarkets and pharmacies will have them available.
The Bottom Line – Rinse Away, but Not with Water
The best way to protect your teeth in between meals is to keep them immersed as much as possible in beneficial ingredients. Swishing around a fluoride rinse or a healthy alternative will leave you with a clean mouth and help your teeth to properly arm themselves in the ongoing bacteria battle.