Dentists urge patients to break the habit of a lifetime, as research shows rinsing after brushing can increase the risk of decay
Many of grow up practising an oral hygiene routine, which involves putting toothpaste on the brush, adding a drop of water, cleaning, spitting and then rinsing. The trouble is that this pattern may not actually be the best regime for your teeth. As new research suggests that rinsing after brushing can elevate the risk of decay, is it time you broke the habit of a lifetime?
Rinsing is part and parcel of teeth cleaning for many people, mainly because this is what they learn to do during their childhood. When you’ve been doing something for so long, you may never even have thought to question whether your cleaning technique is effective. Now, with research studies hitting the headlines, it may be a good time to assess your oral hygiene regime and make suitable changes. You might think that rinsing is harmless, but new research suggests otherwise.
A study conducted by researchers at Dundee University claims that rinsing can increase the risk of tooth decay. Co-authored by professor of paediatric dentistry, Nicola Innes, and lecturer in paediatric dentistry, Clement Seeballuck, the study suggests that breaking the habit could reduce the risk of decay by up to 25 percent. This is because rinsing removes fluoride from the mouth. Fluoride is added to toothpaste and it helps to prevent decay by strengthening and protecting the tooth enamel. When you rinse straight after brushing, you wash away the fluoride without giving it chance to work its magic.
The paper also advised people to cut down on sugary snacks, and to try and avoid eating and drinking anything sugary or acidic between meals. When you eat, the bacteria in your mouth feed, and this causes them to produce acids that attack the enamel. The enamel softens temporarily before hardening again. If you eat throughout the day, your enamel doesn’t have a chance to recover, and the risk of decay and erosion is increased.