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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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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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