Healthy Body

Wait, Are You *Not* Supposed To Rinse Your Mouth Out With Water After Brushing Your Teeth?

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Every once in a while, you might hear some advice that makes you question your entire reality. For example, maybe you've even encountered this mind-blowing "fact" about your tooth brushing routine: You're not supposed to do a quick rinse after brushing your teeth. The old-school reasoning is that doing so rinses away the fluoride, which helps fights cavities and prevents tooth decay. The truth is that advice about hygiene and health is a bit out of date.

According to Michaela Tozzi, DMD, a dentist in Las Vegas who specializes in oral hygiene and cosmetic dentistry, doing a quick rinse after brushing your teeth is absolutely okay—and it can actually be really beneficial. "It’s a good idea to do so, as there are bacteria in the toothpaste after brushing," she says." Rinse long enough so there’s no residue remaining in your mouth. Water is fine, but if you prefer mouthwash, use a non-alcohol-based rinse."

"It’s a good idea to [rinse], as there’s bacteria in the toothpaste after brushing. Rinse long enough so there’s no residue remaining in your mouth." —Michaela Tozzi, DMD

After 30 seconds of rinsing, spit it out. And, FYI, there's no need to do a second rinse with water if you're using mouthwash, as Dr. Tozzi says most bacteria have already been manually removed with the toothbrush and toothpaste.

There's one exception, however. If you're using toothpaste for therapeutic purposes—like "fluoride for sensitivity and enamel strength," she says—you'll want to do things a bit differently.

In that case, Dr. Tozzi says your routine should be the following: brush, rinse, and spit per usual. Then apply the toothpaste topically with your finger, and spit. "Do the same with a calcium-based toothpaste for demineralized and weakened enamel," she says. You'll still reap the benefits of rinsing while also ensuring you're still getting the full benefits from the fluoride. And there you have it—squeaky, clean teeth every time.

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