April 9, 2024 at 3:36 pm

Dentists Say You’re Brushing Your Teeth All Wrong, But The Solution So Simple Anybody Can Do It

by Trisha Leigh

AreYouBrushingYourTeethRight Dentists Say Youre Brushing Your Teeth All Wrong, But The Solution So Simple Anybody Can Do It

Most of us probably prefer to not really think about the dentist unless it’s time to actually go to the dentist.

That said, if you’re brushing your teeth wrong you might have to spend even more time at the dentist, so it’s probably best to know, right?

Most of us have been brushing our teeth morning and night (or at least saying we have) since we got our first teeth. You get a good toothbrush, a dollop of toothpaste (not too much), and brush all surfaces for two minutes.

After you’re done, though, do you rinse and spit? Just spit? Mouthwash?

This is where a bit of the controversy sort of comes up, and some dentists are weighing in.

Dr. Kacie Woodis starts with the fact that around 1,000 species of bacteria live in our mouth. When we eat, they eat, and the byproducts of their meal are things like bad breath and the breakdown of our enamel.

Source: Shutterstock

Most toothpastes contain fluoride, which builds resistance against these acid attacks, along with helping to repair the enamel.

Dr. Fatima Khan explains why that’s so important.

“Fluoride counteracts the demineralization process by partnering with calcium and phosphate to form fluorapatite. Fluorapatite is a crystalline lattice that covers the enamel to remineralize it and restore its integrity.”

The longer it stays on your teeth the more effective it is, so maybe people saying you shouldn’t rinse off the toothpaste have a point?

This goes extra for those of you who aren’t brushing the full two minutes twice every day – the average is between 45-70 seconds total in a 24-hour period.

Woodis agrees, suggesting people just spit out their excess toothpaste instead of rinsing with water.

“We’ll prescribe an extra-strength fluoride toothpaste, and we often recommend that people spit and not rinse that prescription toothpaste.”

If you’re curious about this practice with your charcoal toothpaste, both Woodis and Khan don’t recommend using it in the first place. They say charcoal is too abrasive and strips away tooth enamel, turning teeth yellow after some time using it.

Source: Shutterstock

If you don’t like the taste of toothpaste or just think you can’t kick the habit of rinsing entirely, Woodis says even leaving it for 20-30 minutes could maximize the fluoride’s effects.

This advice holds even if you use mouthwash that contains fluoride, since it generally contains around 1000 parts per million less than fluoride toothpaste.

I’m not sure if this will make a big enough difference for your dentist to be able to tell at your next visit, but it couldn’t hurt.

And I know deep down we all want to hear we’re doing a good job.

If you thought that was interesting, you might like to read a story that reveals Earth’s priciest precious metal isn’t gold or platinum and costs over $10,000 an ounce!