Maintaining good dental hygiene isn’t very complicated. As long as you brush your teeth twice a day and floss every day, you should generally be good to go. But there is one widespread habit that we’ve all been doing and is actually not recommended by dentists—rinsing your mouth after brushing your teeth.
Common dental hygiene mistake
It may seem like a rather obvious move to wash out all the excess toothpaste from your mouth, but this reflex is not necessarily very useful. In fact, if you want to better protect your pearly whites, having toothpaste residue in the mouth is actually beneficial. At least that’s what dental surgeon, Dr. Elise, who goes by Dr. E on her Instagram account Les Maux de la Bouce, explained to Madmoizelle:
To date, there are no advanced studies confirming that you should spit rather than rinse your toothpaste, but in theory, it seems very logical: the more fluorides contained in the toothpaste will be in contact with the teeth, the more effective they will be in strengthening the enamel and allowing remineralisation of carious lesions.
Why you shouldn’t rinse your mouth after brushing
She’s not the only dental expert that supports this practice. British dentist Anna Peterson, who has over 90,000 followers on TikTok, also addressed the matter while responding to a viewer’s question. She said:
All you're supposed to do is spit out the excess toothpaste, not rinse it out with water.
If you’re still not convinced, you should know that the NHS has been giving out the same advice. According to them, rinsing your mouth after brushing your teeth will ‘remove the concentrated fluoride in the remaining toothpaste.’ They add:
This dilutes it and reduces its preventive effects.