You are here:

Dentistry/Rinsing After Brushing


Hello Mr. Burnett,

I wanted to ask a quick question regarding rinsing after brushing. I used to rinse with water right after brushing my teeth with regular crest toothpaste. I normally brush from 2 to 3 mintues every morning after I wake up and before I go to bed. Ideally I would like to brush at lunch time, but I'm at work. I was thinking of bringing a toothbrush to brush after lunch, waiting at least 30mins to an hour until my saliva nuetralizes the acid of course. But my dentist said that I might get some slight gum recession by brushing 3 times a day.

I was also thinking of trying to get some xylitol gum. I keep hearing about it and it sounds great for fighting bacteria and I heard it keeps the Ph of your mouth neutral. I think I also heard that dairy like milk, cheese, or regular low fat yogurt help my mouth stay less acidic. Anyway sorry for rabbling, back to my original question. I changed my brushing habits recently because I told my dentist that I rinse out with water right after I brush. He said that I was committing a mistake by doing that because I was washing away all the flouride that I needed to coat my teeth throughout for better protection. That I should just spit out the toothpaste instead and go about my day. I argued that if I didn't rinse out with water that then I would be leaving bacteria behind.

I know I should be listening to my dentist, but it just doesn't make sense to me. Maybe if I knew exactly why I shouldn't rinse then I could make a better decision. Maybe I could just rinse with listerine or closys which has no alcohol? Also, what do you think in regards to what I wrote earlier? Thank you and any help is greatly appreciated!



Hi James and thanks for your question which I am answering from the question pool.

I understand your dilemma and there are different opinions on this matter, but firstly...

1.  chewing sugarfree gum between meals has the effect of increasing saliva secretion, which brings along many anti-bacterial agents and neutralizes oral pH by increasing it.
2.  it is very beneficial to eat a small block of cheese, especially after a meal, which again increases the pH of the mouth.  Less so with milk, which after it is metabolized and broken down by the oral bacteria, actually forms lactic acid and reduces the pH of the mouth.
3.  if you have a high caries index and prone to tooth decay, then I advise you to get a daily fluoride mouthwash and gargle with it after you have rinsed your mouth out with water.  I tend to agree with your reasoning on this matter.  Also, the fluoride in the toothpaste has an immediate effect on the tooth enamel and dentine on contact, so there is some benefit from the toothpaste even after rinsing the mouth out.  Additionally, as the drinking water if fluoridated, that gives some extra protection on top of that.

I hope this helps and wish you all the very best further, take care.

Kind regards
Dr Craig Peck


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Dr Craig W Peck ( B.Med.Sc., B.Ch.D., Clin. Botox, Cosmet. Derm.)


I am a General Dental Practitioner, with special interests in Cosmetic Dentistry & facial aesthetics and Periodontology, placing a strong emphasis on the establishment and maintenance of a healthy periodontium (the support structure of the tooth) before cosmetic options are considered. I uphold all principles of prevention above interventional treatment and try as far as possible, to remain conservative in my approach. I believe in detailed, open and honest patient discussion, establishing what the patients expectations are and what the reality is of achieving this and involving the patient at every level of the treatment. I have strong principles on ethical treatment and appropriate patient management. I have chosen to treat and rehabilitate many nervous and phobic patients, who, for whatever reason, find it impossible to take part in the very important task of even a routine check-up. I will accept questions relating to general and cosmetic dentistry (in conjunction with the use of facial cosmetic procedures) and dental fears/phobias. I will be more than willing to answer any academic questions in dentistry, biology, physiology, psychology and health sciences in general. As most dentists will tell you, there is often not only one way of dealing with a dental issue - so very often, there is no precise right and wrong way of approaching the problem. All clinicians vary when it comes to treatments and what works best in their hands is often the treatment that is advised. Be understanding of this and bear in mind that nothing lasts forever! Patients are happy to accept only a one-years warrantee when buying a new car, but seem to expect that dental work is going to last them their lifetime.


I have worked for many years in the UK and RSA as a general dental practitioner - within the NHS, private practice and the government dental health services. I am certificated for the administration of Botox and Dermal Fillers for facial lines and wrinkles as I have attended further courses in minimally invasive facial cosmetic procedures. I started seeing an increasing number of patients who presented with severe to moderate dental fears, even with full-blown phobias, so I started with the slow and patient task of tackling this problem and have successfully rehabilitated many patients. The key is good, effective, concise and understandable communication, shifting control from the dentist to the patient in order to slowly, but confidently, regain their trust back in dentistry, thereby giving them the feeling of achievement and this self-empowerment which drives them to the next level of treatment.

Academy of General Dentistry. American Dental Education Association. IAPAM (International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine). Professional Speakers, Writers and Managements Consultants in Dentistry. The British Dental Association. UK Aesthetics Group. ARC - Aesthetic Professionals. Botox. Aesthetics & Beauty. American Association for Dental Research. FDI - World Dental Federation. SOURCE1uk. World Dental Hygiene Forum. ProDentalCPD. Public Health Dentistry. Dentist Network. LinkedIn. Who's Who of South Africa.

B.Med.Sc. Degree (Medical Physiology and Medical Virology; Physiology Cum Laude; Stell 1994). B.Ch.D. Degree (Bachelor of Dental Surgery; Clinical Dentistry Cum Laude; Stell 1997). CPR and CPR-Advanced Courses (2000/2001; UK). Clinical Botox (UK, 2001). Cosmetic Dermatology (Botox and Dermal Fillers; RSA 2011).

Awards and Honors
Placed on the Dean's List at University for academic achievement (1994). Highest achievement in the subject Dental Materials. Medal from 3M and the Radiology Association of South Africa for highest achievement in the subject Dental Radiology and Imaging. Medal from The Periodontal Association of South Africa for highest achievement in the subject Periodontology. Highest achievement for Oral Medicine. Highest achievement in Oral Pathology. Received the DASA (Dental Ass. of South Africa) Gold Medal for highest achieving dental student across the 5 1/2 years of the Degree. Passed the subject, Clinical Dentistry with distinction in final year.

©2016 All rights reserved.