WASHINGTON – Most of us rinse our teeth immediately after brushing them to remove traces of toothpaste, which is exactly what dental professionals consider a big mistake.
Toothpaste works to protect your teeth from cavities, because it contains fluoride, which helps prevent tooth decay, and restore minerals that the tooth may lose as a result of the acids produced by the bacteria that cause decay.
And toothpastes that contain fluoride and other ingredients intended to strengthen tooth enamel may need to stay some time on the surface of your teeth in order to get the full benefit.
Fluoride helps your teeth most when it is applied directly to the teeth, and fluoride that stays on your teeth for several minutes longer provides more benefit.
So when you rinse your teeth with water immediately after brushing, you reduce the beneficial effect of fluoride.
Some experts, including Oral Health UK, recommend spitting out any excess toothpaste or saliva after brushing rather than rinsing with water.
And it is advisable to leave the paste on your teeth, and try to avoid eating or drinking for 10 minutes or more after you finish brushing your teeth, and this is for adults.
This habit may be difficult to change, but it can reduce tooth decay by up to 25 percent.