Why rinsing out your toothpaste when brushing is bad for your teeth

Rinsing your teeth rather than spitting out your toothpaste is apparently the wrong approach. [Photo: Getty]
Rinsing your teeth rather than spitting out your toothpaste is apparently the wrong approach. [Photo: Getty]

You wouldn’t think there’s a right or wrong way to brush your teeth, but it seems there is.

Those who rinse their mouth after brushing to get rid of the toothpaste residue risk a significantly higher incidence of tooth decay, dental hygiene experts have warned.

The common mistake was brought to light in a feature published in academic publication, The Conversation.

It was co-authored by the University of Dundee’s Nicola Innes, a professor of paediatric dentistry, and Clement Seeballuck, a clinical lecturer in paediatric dentistry.

The advice reads: “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 paper also shared an important tip for those with a sweet tooth. It’s all to do with restricting the number of occasions you eat sugar – otherwise known as ‘sugar hits’.

It explains: “Although not as important as how much, how often you eat sugar also matters.”

“Typically, your teeth can be exposed to four “sugar hits” – episodes of sugar intake – daily without irreversible damage to the teeth. Why not try counting how many sugary hits you have a day?”

The experts advised cutting down on snacking on sugary food and drinks throughout the day. This will reduce the amount of times your teeth come into contact with sugar.

“This includes biscuits, cups of sugary tea or coffee and other snacks with refined carbohydrates like crisps.”

Brushing your teeth twice a day has long been the recommended advice from the NHS. While the first brush does not necessarily have to be in the morning when you get up, the second one must always be at nighttime, according to the organisation.

This is because it gives your toothpaste time to work, according to’s clinical director Dr Daniel Atkinson.

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