Why You Shouldn’t Rinse After Brushing - Public Goods

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Why You Shouldn’t Rinse After Brushing

This may sound weird, but I love the dentist. I have loved the dentist since I was little.

toothbrush head with toothpaste

Teeth have always been fascinating to me, and I considered going to the dentist regularly an integral part of maintaining beautiful chompers. I loved getting my teeth industrially cleaned, as well as the cool, little toys I would get after each visit.

Even now as an adult without the toy incentive, a trip to the dentist has me smiling from ear to ear. As far as I’m concerned, going to the dentist is to teeth brushing what going to a nail salon is to manicures — a professional version of something you can do well enough at home.

When it comes to getting things done professionally, you have an expectation that it’s being done the best way it can possibly be done. As someone who likes to save money by learning as much as I can from said professionals, I take extra care to pay attention to what they’re doing.

Something I just recently noticed about my dental appointments is that there always seemed to be a lot of toothpaste in my mouth after the cleaning. No matter how many times I rinsed or how much water I used, my teeth felt coated with the stuff, and I thought there was something wrong about that until I remembered: These are professionals. Maybe I’ve been doing it wrong this whole time.

Apparently you’re not supposed to rinse your mouth after brushing your teeth. According to Dynamic Dental Care, you’re merely supposed to spit the toothpaste out, not rinse with water. The reason you aren’t supposed to rinse out the toothpaste is its active ingredient: fluoride, xylitol, etc. (depends on what you use and what your views on fluoride are).

Fluoride, for example, purportedly works to prevent tooth decay by remineralizing and strengthening teeth. The longer it’s on your teeth, the more time it has to prevent tooth decay, which is why spitting out your toothpaste but not rinsing is integral to oral health.

As helpful as toothpaste is, it shouldn’t be swallowed in a concentrated form.

As helpful as toothpaste is, it shouldn’t be swallowed in a concentrated form. According to the Oral Health Foundation and The Fluoride Action Network, swallowing toothpaste can lead to dental fluorosis, especially if done while teeth are developing (such as when you’re a child).

Dental fluorosis is irreparable damage to tooth enamel that presents itself as fine white lines or flecking on the tooth’s surface. This disease can cause your teeth to erode and crumble.

This possibility may be terrifying, but it’s still best to not rinse out your toothpaste. By instead spitting out the toothpaste but not rinsing right away, it mixes with your saliva, thus diluting the amount of fluoride enough to make it both effective and relatively harmless. By not rinsing the toothpaste out, it sticks to your teeth longer, allowing it to work in all of the nooks and crannies of your mouth. An excess of fluoride can ruin your enamel, but the consistent presence of just the right amount can give you stronger, whiter teeth.

All of this information blew my mind. I have always loved my teeth, so I was all set to do what needed to be done to make them better. I immediately stopped rinsing my mouth after brushing.

It took some time to get used to. Keeping the toothpaste in my mouth felt so weird. It made my tongue feel thick and gross. One habit that really helped me get used to it was using a tongue scraper after I brushed my teeth. That tool is also solidly integral for oral hygiene.

All-in-all, my teeth routine takes me a good ten minutes, but you have to put in the work if you want to see results. As Annie said, you’re never fully dressed without a smile!

A Note from Public Goods: If you don’t like the balancing act of using fluoride toothpaste, try our fluoride-free toothpaste. You won’t have to worry as much about swallowing it or rinsing it out too early.

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Comments (14)

  • This article seems incongruent with Public Goods, so I’m curious about its purpose. By the way, I love your toothpaste! And a couple of days ago, my hygienist was shocked how clean my teeth were. The best they’ve ever been. She asked if I was doing something different and I told her I was using toothpaste from Public Goods 🙂

    • Hi Lana,

      We just wanted to present another perspective. Most people still use fluoride toothpaste where these rules apply, and we want to reach those people, too. Hopefully they will adopt our attitude of using non-fluoride toothpaste. By the way, so happy you’ve had good results with our toothpaste.

      To thank you for commenting here, feel free to use the coupon code, PGBLOGFAM, for $5 off your next order.

  • Interesting, but I would think that along with the toothpaste being left in your mouth is also enough of everything else that you’re brushing out like bacteria and food particles. In my experience brushing my teeth for many years, I find rinsing not only rinses out the toothpaste but also a lot of food particles. At the advice of a dental hygienist, I even rinse before I brush to get rid of particles so they’re out of the way so the toothpaste/brush can do it’s job better. If it really is beneficial to leave the toothpaste in your mouth, I wonder if a person could rinse and then re-brush briefly and leave that second dose of toothpaste in your mouth. Food for thought. 🙂

    • Those are good points, Lorna! As a small token of our appreciating for commenting on the blog, here is a discount code for $5 off your next order: PGBLOGFAM

    • Yes rinsing helps with the large particles so I rinse then brush for 10 more seconds with the toothpaste left on my toothbrush.

  • After reading. I feel paranoid about drinking water after brushing. One because I’ll remove the active flouride. And 2 because I may swallow too much.


    • Hi Marcos,

      Sorry to make you feel paranoid! You’ll be fine even if you ingest a bit of fluoride. It’s just a precaution. To thank you for commenting here, enjoy this $5 off coupon code on your next PG order: PGBLOGFAM.

    • Yes using fluoride is the only real way to stop tooth decay but you need a lot less than you think and focusing on not swallowing it is very important. Here is a good article explaining you only need a tiny amount of toothpaste not the 1 inch shown in commercials.

      So use a small amount When you brush. then rinse. Then brush for 10 more seconds with what’s left on your brush.

  • I’ve actually heard this before but from the perspective of someone who used to do this and no longer does because of the sugar that is often present in toothpaste that can actually cause cavities if left to sit on our teeth. I would have liked to see that included in this article, either at least addressed or debunked.

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      I’ll ask the author if she is willing to revise and include that detail. To thank you for commenting here, enjoy this $5 off coupon code on your next PG order: PGBLOGFAM.

  • I purchased your toothpaste then threw it away when I finally noticed there was no fluoride. I think it’s fine to offer this product for those who want to have dentures in their 70’s. But it should be more apparent in the labeling that it is a no fluoride toothpaste. Because really if you are not using fluoride then just brush with no toothpaste and save the money and the packaging.

    Backup info of why I believe this.

  • I’m shocked at the lack of research evident in this article, and disappointed that Public Goods would approve it for publication. Fluoride does not prevent cavities and is highly toxic. Recent studies have shown dental decay rates falling equally in countries who use fluoride and those who don’t. If you still decide to use a fluoride paste, never leave it in your mouth without rinsing – and please don’t let your children use it (we know they’re going to swallow!)

    Toothpaste containing baking soda will help neutralize the acidic saliva which causes cavities. *Interestingly, as we age our saliva becomes more alkaline, which results in more plaque (but fewer cavities!)

    Some reported effects of fluoride on our brain:

    • Reduction in receptors
    • Damage to the hippocampus
    • Formation of beta-amyloid plaques (the classic brain abnormality in Alzheimer’s)
    • Reduction in lipid content
    • Damage to healthy cells
    • Impaired antioxidant defense systems
    • Increased uptake of aluminum
    • Accumulation of fluoride in the pineal gland

    • Hi Lisa,

      I’m sorry the article was disappointing for you. We actually agree with your take on fluoride, and that’s why we don’t sell toothpaste with fluoride. Nonetheless, I try to manage the blog as a place where all of our members can have their voices heard, even if they prefer products that go against our values.

      • Also, we really appreciate the feedback! Feel free to use this coupon code to save $5 on your next order: PGBLOGFAM.

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