Almost Everyone Makes This Mistake After Brushing Their Teeth

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Smiling man about to brush his teeth /

Dentists have a tip for keeping your teeth in better shape — but you might not like the sound of it.

Deciding not to rinse after brushing might provide extra protection to your choppers because it allows the fluoride to work its magic a little longer, according to many experts.

Some experts say the impact can be substantial, reducing tooth decay by as much as 25%, according to the California Oral Health Technical Assistance Center at the University of California San Francisco.

According to the center:

“Once you’ve brushed, don’t rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash — you’re washing away the fluoride! This can be a difficult habit to break, but can reduce tooth decay by up to 25%.”

The dental experts at Tampa Palms Dentistry note that when a dentist applies a tray of fluoride gel to your teeth during an office visit, you are expected to leave the tray in place for a few minutes to give the fluoride a chance to work.

The same principle applies when you are brushing your teeth at home with fluoride toothpaste.

Tampa Palms Dentistry notes another benefit of not rinsing: Skipping the water after brushing might mean less discomfort for people with sensitive teeth.

Some viral TikTok videos have been pushing this notion that you should only spit — and not rinse — after brushing. It turns out that this is one of the rare times that social media wisdom actually lives up to the hype.

If you want to give rinse-less brushing a try, Tampa Palms Dentistry recommends the following steps:

  • Floss your teeth and rinse prior to brushing.
  • Brush your teeth and do not rinse.
  • Avoid eating or drinking anything for 30 to 60 minutes after brushing, so the fluoride can strengthen dental enamel.
  • Use mouthwash at a separate time from when you brush.

If you just cannot stand the thought of not rinsing, use a tongue scraper after brushing or chew sugar-free gum. Either of these techniques might make the effect of not rinsing more palatable.

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