We have had quite a few patients asking if they should be rinsing their mouth out after brushing their teeth or leave the toothpaste on and not rinse it off. A recent article in the health section of the paper recommended that you spit out any excess toothpaste but stated not to rinse your mouth out after brushing your teeth. The main reason for this, they stated, was so that the fluoride found in toothpaste will be left on the teeth to soak in and help protect the enamel.
A lot of people don’t like the strong taste of toothpaste and can’t wait to rinse it out of their mouth and that is fine. I generally only recommend not rinsing post brushing to patients who are moderate to high risk for dental decay, along with other treatments including high fluoride mouthwashes, pastes and gels.
Dental decay is a multifactorial disease that results from the interaction between the bacterial biofilm (plaque), the environment (diet, saliva composition and flow rate, fluoride exposure) and the tooth structure (enamel composition).
Patients who are considered moderate to high risk include:
· Medically compromised and/or on a number of medications which could alter their saliva,
· Patients with high plaque levels,
· Patients with low saliva or poor saliva composition which is usually due to a medical condition or medical procedure such as radiation therapy to the head and neck,
· Patients who have a high sugar diet, or patients with poorly formed enamel.
To prevent dental decay, we recommend brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste morning and at night (the last thing before you go to bed), flossing daily, keeping sweet treats to special occasions or having them as sometimes foods (not every day) and having regular dental checks.