“Should I be rinsing my mouth with water after I brush my teeth?” Many patients have this common oral hygiene question. Does water help clean the smile, or does it wash away effective toothpaste and mouthwash? Is a saltwater rinse right for your smile, or should you use mouthwash? Learn whether you should be rinsing after brushing and what oral hygiene tips to follow at home and in our Fullerton, CA, dental office.
Should You Rinse After Brushing?
When you rinse your mouth with water after you brush your teeth, you wash away fluoride from your toothpaste. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that, along with calcium and phosphate, helps strengthen the tooth enamel. Avoid eating or drinking for 30 minutes after brushing your teeth because you can rinse away active ingredients like fluoride left on your teeth and gums. Keeping fluoride on the teeth and gums can prevent common dental issues like cavities and gum disease.
Strengthening the tooth enamel with fluoride protects teeth from harmful bacteria that can penetrate teeth and create holes or cavities. As bacteria irritate the gum tissue and enter teeth, they can affect the nerves and tissues that keep teeth alive and break down supportive gum tissues.
However, if you’re out and about and want to clean your teeth quickly, you can rinse your mouth with water. Rinsing your mouth with fluoridated water can help your teeth, especially if you have just eaten. In our office, we will provide a thorough cleaning and a rinse that contains fluoride to protect the tooth enamel.
Should You Use Mouthwash or Saltwater Rinses?
Mouthwash can be effective if patients are more prone to bacterial buildup. However, avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes that can wear down the enamel. Alcohol is too harsh on the teeth and gums. Over time, alcohol breaks down the gum tissue and weakens teeth. If you use an alcohol-free mouthwash, wait 20 minutes after brushing to rinse.
Saltwater rinses are helpful for patients who have just completed extraction treatment. We recommend saltwater rinses after extractions because they keep extraction sites clean as a good alternative to brushing. Extraction sites are too sensitive for toothbrushes while they first heal. Saltwater rinses can also help treat other wounds in the mouth, like cuts or sores. These rinses fight off bacteria and gently clean the mouth.
Do you have any more questions about rinses or mouthwash? Schedule a dental appointment with Dr. Kush Patel today. Contact Fullerton Craft Smiles for treatment at (714) 888-7008.