Are You Brushing Your Teeth Wrong?

We have written frequently about the importance of good oral health. All of health is interconnected. Taking care of your mouth helps the rest of your body. Practicing good oral health care can even help your blood sugar.

But are you brushing correctly? It’s probably not a question you ask yourself. Most of us brush our teeth and move on. But a lot of us are messing up the last step! If you rinse your mouth with water after brushing, you are undoing some of the work you did.

The fluoride in toothpaste is meant to stay in your mouth to protect tooth enamel and prevent decay. It protects teeth against the acid bacteria create in your mouth naturally. If you rinse your mouth, it doesn’t get the chance to do its job.

You are basically rinsing away the active ingredients of the toothpaste that you just put on your teeth,” said Dr. Margherita Fontana, a professor of Dentistry at the Univ. of Michigan.  

Fluoride has been added to drinking water since 1945 to improve dental health. The action is considered one of the top 10 greatest health achievements of the 20th century for the way it enhanced people’s oral health. While it is possible to be poisoned by fluoride, it’s perfectly safe at the levels seen in water and toothpaste.

If you have always rinsed, the feeling of not doing so might be unpleasant. Don’t worry; even though the “spit don’t rinse” method is best, there are options. Instead of using water, use a fluoride mouthwash to remove any toothpaste left after spitting.

If this news is shocking to you, don’t worry; it went viral on the internet as videos revealed people had no idea and had been brushing wrong their whole lives. Dentists have said that if you have never suffered from cavities, you might be fine to keep rinsing — some people have robust teeth. But people who are predisposed to cavities need as much fluoride as they can get. For those people, an extra fluoride mouthwash might have benefits.

Finally, they said if you really can’t bear it, use the smallest sip of water possible. Keep as much fluoride in your mouth as possible while keeping your mouth clean. By reminding yourself that dental health is an integral part of your blood sugar and overall health, you might be able to overcome the habits of a lifetime and change them for the better!

Banner image: Keira Burton via Pexels

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