To rinse or not to rinse….. that is the question!

Confused about the do’s and don’ts of tooth brushing? Everybody rinses with water after brushing, don’t they? How else are you supposed to get rid of excess toothpaste and any debris floating around in your mouth.

Should we rinse after brushing or not?

Opinions are divided, so let’s have a look at the argument for not rinsing…

If you do rinse out your mouth with water after brushing, you are getting rid of the fluoride, which protects your teeth. If you don’t rinse, then the fluoride has more time to get to work protecting your teeth. The result? Healthier, cleaner teeth which are less prone to cavities.

The rinsers among us have the following to say:

Ingesting toothpaste may harm your stomach and cause irritation. Rinsing out your mouth after brushing helps to wash away all of the bacteria and debris that you dislodged during brushing.

This makes as much sense as the argument for not rinsing with water after brushing, so what should we do?

What does science say?

A study conducted on the factors relating to fluoride retention after brushing, confirms that there “might be a relation between the caries activity and the retention of fluoride after tooth brushing, and that mouth rinsing with water after the brushing should be reduced to a minimum in order to get the maximum beneficial effect of the daily fluoride exposure…”

It seems that not rinsing with water after brushing leads to less cavities occurring.


Another study conducted over three years on the effect of post-brush rinsing behaviour on dental caries revealed “ It is concluded that post-brushing rinsing with water, under the conditions of this study, does not significantly affect the caries-reducing effect of a fluoride toothpaste.”

It looks like the scientists can’t agree on this one either.

So what should we do?

A balanced approach seems to be the sensible way forward.

  • Cut down on the amount of toothpaste that you use . A pea size amount of toothpaste on your toothbrush is more than enough and that will cut down on the excessive toothpaste suds while brushing.
  • If you are prone to cavities, then don’t rinse, just spit and let the fluoride stay in contact with your teeth for longer. Just remember to brush for at least two minute at a time.
  • If you are rinsing because you don’t like the very minty taste of toothpaste, maybe try a different flavour like bubblegum, chamomile, apple or even cinnamon!
  • If you really can’t do without rinsing, just use a small sip of water.

The choice is yours!

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