I used to rinse after brushing my teeth — and even went back over them with a wet toothbrush — to remove any remnants of toothpaste left in my mouth. But then I found out from a dentist’s TikTok video that doing this isn’t the most effective method.
Why you should skip rinsing with water after brushing your teeth
Fluoride is an important ingredient in toothpaste that helps make the enamel harder and more resistant to acids that cause cavities. Hewlett says it’s the most well-established effective ingredient in toothpaste, so make sure yours has fluoride in it.
When you brush your teeth, you’re cleaning any film and bacteria from food and sugary drinks. When you go a step further and skip rinsing, you’re leaving the fluoride from the toothpaste in your mouth for a longer time, giving you a better effect from the fluoride. Wait at least 15 minutes after brushing to drink water. After brushing your teeth your saliva will clear the toothpaste out so you won’t taste it all day.
What if you’ve been rinsing with water all your life?
If you’re just finding out about this tip, you may be thinking you’ve been undoing all your hard work of brushing every day. But that’s not true. Hewlett says as long as you brush the standard two times a day for two minutes each time, the fluoride will remain in your mouth to help protect your teeth.
You’re still doing what you need to do to have good oral health to protect your teeth. The idea of not rinsing with water is just an extra step to help the fluoride be even more effective.
Is it OK to use mouthwash to rinse your teeth after brushing?
Most mouthwashes contain less fluoride than toothpaste, so rinsing with mouthwash right after brushing can wash away the concentrated fluoride from your teeth. Instead, opt for using mouthwash at another time, like after lunch or coffee.