Swish, Spit and Don’t Rinse

The Reason Behind Not Rinsing with Water After Brushing Your Teeth

“Are you supposed to rinse after brushing?” is a common question people have about brushing. Spitting instead of rinsing is an essential part of improving oral health. According to a survey conducted as part of National Smile Month, 62 percent of people rinse their mouth out with water after brushing.

“Rinsing our mouth with water is very bad for our teeth as it washes away the protective fluoride left behind by brushing,” said Dr. Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation.

Fluoride plays a significant role in oral health as it strengthens tooth enamel, making it more resistant to tooth decay. In addition, it reduces the amount of acid that the bacteria on your teeth produce. When you spit out your toothpaste without rinsing with water it ensures that the fluoride will be more effective as it will remain on the teeth.

The majority of people brush their teeth for less than a minute, which doesn’t give the fluoride toothpaste very much time to work on your teeth. The fluoride has more time to work to protect your teeth when you don’t rinse. The result? Healthier, cleaner teeth, which are less prone to cavities.


The survey also found that 14 percent of respondents rinsed their mouth out after brushing with mouthwash. “It may also be surprising to some but using mouthwash directly after brushing is also bad for our teeth as it also rinses away fluoride,” added Dr. Carter. “If you do like to use mouthwash, try to use it at a separate time to brushing to ensure that you get the full benefit of the fluoride in your toothpaste.” The survey revealed that respondents who rinse their mouth out after washing are also more likely to leave the tap running whilst brushing potentially wasting 12 liters of water every time they brush.

To Rinse or Not to Rinse?

If you are at higher risk of cavities than the average person then don’t rinse. Keeping more fluoride in your mouth for longer can only be beneficial. But remember to brush your teeth for at least the recommended two minutes. This will give the fluoride more time to do its job. On the other hand, if you don’t overeat sugar, don’t have bad crowns or fillings, bad oral hygiene, or lots of cavity-causing bacteria then it’s not going to make a big difference whether you rinse or not as your teeth are not as susceptible to cavities in the first place.

The choice is yours!

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