6 June 2016

Spitting is largely considered one of the worst habits a person can have yet that’s exactly what one leading health charity is asking all of us to do.

“Spit don’t rinse” is the message from the Oral Health Foundation as new research reveals many of us could be putting our oral health at risk by making the mistake of rinsing after we brush our teeth.

The poll, conducted as part of National Smile Month, discovered almost two in three (62%) of us rinse our mouth with water after brushing our teeth, which actually makes us more prone to developing tooth decay.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation discussed why we should make the change and ‘spit not rinse’, after brushing our teeth.

Dr Carter said: “Rinsing our mouth with water is very bad for our teeth as it washes away the protective fluoride left behind by brushing.

“Fluoride is the single-most important ingredient in toothpaste. It greatly helps oral health by strengthening the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to tooth decay. It also reduces the amount of acid that the bacteria on your teeth produce.

“By spitting toothpaste out then not rinsing with water it ensures that the fluoride found in the majority of toothpastes will remain on the teeth and continue to be effective.”

The research also found that less than while around a quarter (23%) of us correctly spit without rinsing, one in seven (14%) prefer to rinse our mouth out with mouthwash.

“It may also be surprising to some but using mouthwash directly after brushing is also bad for our teeth as it also rinses away fluoride,” added Dr Carter.

“If you do like to use mouthwash, try to use it at a separate time to brushing to ensure that you get the full benefit of the fluoride in your toothpaste.”

The research, part of National Smile Month, a charity campaign to improve the UK’s oral health, also established that the majority of people who rinse are more likely to leave the tap running during brushing, wasting an average 12 litres of water every time.

Turning the tap off during brushing would save an estimated 8,760 litres of water (per person) every year and might mean that a family of four could reduce an annual water bill by up to £70.

National Smile Month runs until 16 June. The campaign is UK’s largest and longest running charity campaign initiative aimed at increasing awareness of importance of oral health, and this year celebrates its 40th birthday.

National Smile Month 2016 is being supported by some of the nation’s best-known brands and retailers. Wrigley’s Extra, Oral-B as platinum sponsors of the campaign, with further support from Polo sugar-free and Philips Sonicare.