Spit don't rinse
tooth brushing

We all want our teeth to last a lifetime - literally. You can help keep your teeth healthy and strong by using the correct tooth cleaning technique, flossing and using the correct toothbrush. You can also help your tooth strength by spitting - and not rinsing. 

The enamel layer on teeth loses minerals through a process called 'demineralisation'. However, it can gain back minerals through 'mineralisation.'

Demineralisation occurs when acids (formed from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth) attack the enamel.  Remineralisation also occurs as a result of what we consume - minerals are redeposited on the enamel layer. Tooth decay occurs when the enamel loses more minerals than are replaced.


This is where fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral, comes in. Fluoride can be found naturally in small quantities in air, soil, fresh water, seawater and plants. It is an important mineral that is deposited back on to the tooth enamel. When enamel has fluoride incorporated into it, the enamel is more resistant to plaque and sugars in the mouth, making it less likely to demineralise. Fluoride makes your enamel physically stronger so that sugars and acid are less likely to break down your tooth and cause a cavity. This is how toothpaste with fluoride makes your teeth more resistant to tooth decay. 

Spit don't rinse

The recommended period to brush your teeth is for 2 minutes. If you rinse your teeth at the end of brushing, you remove the toothpaste (and therefore the fluoride). If you simply spit out the excess toothpaste, you are allowing the fluoride to remain on your teeth and continue its teeth strengthening work. The longer the fluoride stays on your teeth the better!

Remember: Floss, Brush, Spit - that's it!



The information displayed is for information only and is not a substitute for professional dental advice or treatment for specific dental conditions. Please contact your professional dental healthcare provider if you have specific questions about any dental matters.



This article was written for kidspot.co.nz using information from Dr. Amy Goodwin, Lumino The Dentists

Last revised: Thursday, 2 October 2014

This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.