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Is Rinsing Your Mouth After You Brush Wrong? See What Science Says

Is Rinsing Your Mouth After You Brush Wrong? See What Science Says

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC),[1]half of Americans age 30 and older have some form of gum disease. That’s one out of every two people. According to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) this disease can be devastating if left untreated.[2]Research has shown that it can lead to tooth loss, and is associated with other chronic inflammatory illnesses, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Most of us are keenly aware of the basics of good oral hygiene.[3] Brush twice a day in a circular motion and floss daily. We’ve been taught how to take care of our teeth since we were knee high. But when it comes to rinsing after brushing some of us could be missing a key component that could further assist in the prevention of gum disease.

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The great debate: To rinse or not?

Most of us are used to rinsing our mouths out after we finish brushing. It is the natural last step. Your teeth are clean and your breath is fresh, so you do one final rinse and you’re on your way. Research, however, has found that this may be counterproductive especially if you’re not brushing for a full two minutes or longer. If you rinse with water immediately after brushing your teeth, you essentially are rinsing away all of the benefits that fluoride provides to your teeth.[4] By not rinsing after brushing, you give the fluoride more time to protect your teeth, which could be the catalyst to healthier teeth and fewer cavities. [5] However, there is also research that shows that fluoride is toxic and excessive exposure may do more harm than good.[6]

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So, for those with sensitive stomachs or who fear that ingesting toothpaste can harm you over time – since scientists have not reached a definitive conclusion on the dangers of over-ingesting fluoride – experts suggest that if you must rinse, do it by creating a “slurry”.[7] Sip a tiny amount of water and mix it with the toothpaste foam in your mouth. You should briskly swish the mixture around in your mouth and then spit it out with no further rinsing. If you do choose to rinse with a mouth full of water, be sure you brush for at least two minutes to allow the fluoride to work its magic.

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Proper tooth care: The basics

Proper tooth care coupled with simply not rinsing following brushing is the key to minimizing the risks of developing tooth decay and gingivitis.

Oral hygienists agree that proper oral health care consists of:

  • Brushing your teeth twice daily with a fluoride: Using the proper technique to brush your teeth is probably more important than how long you actually brush according to dentists. By brushing twice a day and not rinsing or using the “slurry” method you allow the fluoride to more effectively make teeth more resistant to acid from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth and reverse the early tooth decay.[8]
  • Flossing your teeth daily: The ADA recommends cleaning between your teeth once a day.[9] This is important because not all plaque is removed by brushing. Flossing may also help prevent gum disease and cavities.[10]
  • Brushing for at least 2 minutes every time you brush: Oral health experts suggest two minutes of brushing because “if you’re not brushing your teeth long enough, you may not be getting your teeth clean enough. If you leave behind bacteria on the teeth after brushing, it can lead to serious problems such as gingivitis or periodontitis.”[11] Two minutes is the minimum amount of time researchers say the average person needs to spend brushing– especially for those choosing to fully rinse after brushing. Fluoride needs time to penetrate the teeth and anything under two minutes greatly reduces its effectiveness.

Not rinsing after brushing could be what keeps your teeth healthy and allows you to stave off gum disease. No matter what you decide, follow the steps outlined above and don’t be the next gum disease statistic.

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Reference

[1] American Academy of Periodontology: CDC: HALF OF AMERICAN ADULTS HAVE PERIODONTAL DISEASE
[2] American Academy of Periodontology: PERIODONTAL DISEASE FACT SHEET
[3] Lifehack: 5 Ways To Maintain Good Oral Hygiene
[4] National Center for Biotechnology Information: Factors related to fluoride retention after toothbrushing and possible connection to caries activity
[5] WebMD: Dental Health and Cavities
[6] How Stuff Works: Why is there fluoride-free toothpaste?
[7] Berkeley Wellness: Should You Rinse after Brushing?
[8] Dental Health Foundation: Fluoride Toothpastes
[9] American Dental Association: Federal Government, ADA Emphasize Importance of Flossing and Interdental Cleaners
[10] Mouth Healthy: Plaque
[11] Colgate Oral Health Center: How Long Should You Brush Your Teeth For?

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Denise Hill

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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