should you rinse after brushing your teeth?

Should You Rinse After Brushing Your Teeth?

Should You Rinse After Brushing? Insights from Your Tigard, OR Dental Office


As your trusted dental office in Tigard, Oregon, TruDentistry of Tigard is always striving to provide our patients with the most up-to-date information on oral health practices. One topic that has recently gained attention is whether rinsing your mouth after brushing is beneficial or potentially harmful to your dental health.

Several studies have come out recently suggesting that rinsing immediately after brushing may actually be counterproductive. One of the first studies in 2016 published in the Journal of Dental Research found that rinsing with water after brushing can reduce the concentration of fluoride in the teeth by up to 50%. Fluoride has long been a key ingredient in most toothpastes on the market, as fluoride helps to strengthen the tooth enamel and is a strong factor in preventing tooth decay. When you rinse out the fluoride, you are essentially rinsing away the positive effects that fluoride provides while cleaning your mouth.  You may very well be diminishing its protective effects.

Another study, published in the Oral Health and Preventive Dentistry journal in 2019, compared the effects of rinsing with water, which is counterproductive and not really rinsing at all.  However, rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash after brushing can be very helpful. The results showed that not rinsing or using a fluoride mouthwash led to higher fluoride retention on the teeth compared to rinsing with water.

So, what does this mean for your oral hygiene routine? Based on these findings, Dr. Nguyen recommends the following:


  1. After brushing, try to avoid rinsing your mouth with water immediately. Instead, simply spit out the excess toothpaste.


  1. If you feel the need to rinse, opt for a fluoride mouthwash instead of water. This will help maintain the concentration of fluoride on your teeth and provide additional protection against cavities.


Furthermore, it is also a very good idea to wait at least 30 minutes after you have brushed your teeth before you eat or drink anything.  This allows the fluoride more time to work on your tooth enamel.

Remember that it is really important to use toothpaste that contains fluoride as fluoride is a mineral that is very effective in preventing dental issues.

We at TruDentistry of Tigard, understand that changing a habit like rinsing after brushing may take some getting used to. However, by making this simple adjustment, you can help optimize the effectiveness of the fluoride in your toothpaste and you will be doing a much better job in protecting your teeth from decay.

In our Tigard dental office, we receive a lot of questions on oral health and the subject of not rinsing after brushing does come up often.  So, we asked Dr. Nguyen to answer some of those questions here.  Here are the most frequently asked questions about rinsing.


Q1: I always use a mouthwash. Is it okay to rinse with mouthwash instead of water after brushing?

A1: Yes, rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash after brushing can be beneficial. Unlike water, fluoride mouthwash can help maintain the concentration of fluoride on your teeth, providing additional protection against cavities. However, be sure to use a mouthwash that contains fluoride and is recommended by your dentist.


Q2: I just don’t like the feeling of not rinsing after brushing.  What do you think about that?

A2: It can take some time to adjust to not rinsing after brushing. If you find this uncomfortable, try using less toothpaste or gradually decrease the amount of water you use to rinse over time. You can also opt for a fluoride mouthwash instead of water, as this will still provide the benefits of fluoride retention while freshening your breath.


Q3: Does this no-rinse technique apply to all types of toothpaste?

A3: The no-rinse technique is most effective with fluoride toothpaste. If you are using a non-fluoride toothpaste, such as a natural or herbal variety, the benefits of not rinsing may be less pronounced. However, it is always best to use fluoride toothpaste, as recommended by your dentist, to ensure optimal cavity protection.


Q4: Are there any situations where I should rinse after brushing?

A4: There may be instances where your dentist recommends rinsing after brushing, such as when using a prescription toothpaste or if you have specific oral health concerns. Always follow your dentist’s personalized advice, as they have a thorough understanding of your unique dental needs.


Q5: How long should I wait to eat or drink after brushing if I don’t rinse?

A5: It is generally recommended to wait at least 30 minutes after brushing before consuming any food or drinks. This allows the fluoride in your toothpaste more time to interact with your tooth enamel, strengthening it and providing better protection against decay.

If you have any questions about your oral hygiene routine or would like to schedule a check-up, please don’t hesitate to contact our office. We are always here to help you maintain a healthy, beautiful smile!