When you are finished brushing your teeth, do you instantly place water in your mouth to rinse all the toothpaste away? If so, this might be a habit you will need to change. Rinsing with water after you brush might make sense to you, but it might not be the best option you have. Here are a few things you should understand about this.
Why people rinse with water after brushing
Most people rinse their mouths with water after brushing for two reasons. The first reason is that a mouth full of toothpaste can feel gritty and gross. The second reason is that dentists have always warned people not to swallow fluoride, as it can lead to dental fluorosis and other types of problems. Rinsing your mouth with water after you brush can make your mouth feel less gritty, but it may reduce the effectiveness of your brushing.
The problem of rinsing with water after brushing
When you rinse with water after brushing, you will actually be removing the fluoride from your mouth. The fluoride in your toothpaste is there to strengthen your teeth, but fluoride does not act instantly. It takes time for fluoride to work its way into your teeth and rinsing with water decreases the effectiveness of the fluoride because you are washing it away.
Alternative options to consider
If you want your teeth to be stronger and more protected, there are several things you can do about this. The first thing is to make sure you are brushing your teeth long enough. Dentists recommend brushing for two minutes at a time. Dentists recommend this because it takes at least two minutes for your teeth to absorb any fluoride. If you brush less than this, your teeth might not absorb a single bit of the fluoride.
Secondly, instead of rinsing your mouth with water after you brush, consider putting just a teaspoon of water in your mouth and swishing it around. After that, spit it out. A teaspoon of water will not dilute the fluoride as much, which means your teeth will have a better chance of absorbing it. You could also rinse with a mouthwash product instead of water, but you should make sure this product also contains water. Finally, do not eat or drink anything for twenty minutes after brushing, as this will give the fluoride time to work.
If you are not sure how to handle this debate, talk to your dentist. Your dentist can tell you the pros and cons of rinsing versus not rinsing, and this may help you decide which route to take. You can learn more by scheduling a visit with a dental office like Family & Cosmetic Dentistry.