Should You Rinse with Water After Brushing? - Smile Dental Center

Many of us were taught specific dental habits growing up: Brush your teeth, spit out the toothpaste, then rinse with water before flossing and using mouthwash. Yet these practices have recently come into question.

Most dentists recommend flossing before brushing, as it leaves fewer remaining particles, and to skip rinsing with water after brushing. Learn more about these recommendations.

Argument Against Rinsing After Brushing

Rinsing with water after brushing seems logical to get the toothpaste foam and taste out of your mouth. Yet this process also removes the fluoride in toothpaste, which limits its teeth-strengthening effects. Fluoride toothpastes help preserve enamel and fortify teeth against routine acid exposure and cavities.

What About Rinsing with Water?

The idea behind rinsing with water relates to concerns about fluoride ingestion. Because certain dental products have higher concentrations of fluoride, rinsing with water limits the risk you will accidentally swallow the toothpaste containing this substance.

To counteract this effect, it’s recommended to spit out any toothpaste and saliva left in your mouth after brushing and leave the residue for at least 10 minutes.

Addressing Your Dental Routine

To optimally clean and preserve your teeth, you’re advised to follow this order of steps:

  • Floss: Make sure to floss at least once a day to remove plaque and debris lodged between your teeth, where a toothbrush cannot reach.
  • Rinse: There’s a debate on whether rinsing should be left to the end of your oral routine or done after flossing. More dental professionals are leaning toward the latter. Rinsing after flossing helps remove and wash away any dislodged particles.
  • Brush: Brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste for a minimum of two minutes, at least twice a day. Avoid scraping and aggressive brushing, as this can irritate your gums. Also be sure to brush along the gum line to remove any plaque and help prevent gingivitis.
  • Wait to Rinse: Spit out the excess toothpaste and wait at least 10 minutes. At this point, you can resume drinking water and saliva will also help get rid of the taste. Consider rinsing at this stage with an antibacterial, fluoride-containing mouthwash.

If you’re concerned about tooth decay and interested in improving your dental health, contact our Shelton office today.