Waaaait a second, back it up for just one gosh darn minute—because this latest TikTok hack has truly got us flummoxed: a dentist has gone viral on TikTok after saying that the majority of us are using mouthwash wrong. How so? Well, apparently it's better to use mouthwash before cleaning your teeth, not after, which—if I'm not mistaken—is pretty much the only way most people ever use it?
In a series of three videos, which have now collectively been viewed over 2.5 million times, Dr. Anna Peterson explains it's best to use mouthwash after you eat, or before brushing your teeth, and that not doing so can even result in tooth damage.
"Using mouthwash after brushing your teeth is going to give you tooth decay, so stop doing it," she says in one video, before adding in another. "Your toothpaste that you brush your teeth with has around 1450pp fluoride... [Whereas] your mouthwash has only 220pp fluoride. This is a much lower concentration and it’s not enough to protect your teeth from sugars that you eat and drink. So when you brush your teeth, and you rinse with mouthwash straight away - you just rinse off all the high concentration fluoride, for a low concentration fluoride."
Dr. Peterson continued on to say, "And in our evidence-based toolkit for delivering better oral health, all dentists should be following this... And by no means am I against mouthwash. Because I do actually recommend it to my patients. But not every patient needs it. I certainly don’t tell them to use it after brushing."
Anyone else nothing short of entirely shocked by all this?
Keen to learn more about this dental hygiene lie we've been possibly living our entire lives, and to see if other experts in the field agree, we chatted to Dr. Anjum Jahan, a dentist at the Sante Clinic, who said the "when to use mouthwash" debate has actually been going on for years—and that there's another misstep we're all making when we clean our teeth, too.
"There is no right or wrong answer as [to when to use mouthwash], this is entirely up to you and depends on what you are trying to achieve," Dr. Jahan says. "It's important to understand that the key role of mouth washing is to help aid the dislodgement of any food particles or plaque and kill bacteria in your mouth. Some people prefer doing this prior to tooth brushing as it can help enhance the effectiveness and ease of debris removal with a brush. Others prefer to use mouthwash after brushing to leave the mouth with a refreshing clean feel."
She continues on to add, "Both toothpaste and mouthwash contain fluoride in different concentrations with toothpaste typically having a greater concentration of fluoride. This is why it would be ideal to use mouthwash prior to tooth brushing or at a different time as fluoride is important in contributing to your teeth defense against tooth decay."
As for that other teeth-related myth we mentioned? "One of the most important messages that many patients do not know, more important than the use of mouthwash, is that simply spitting after tooth brushing is preferable to rinsing with water. Why? Because it keeps the beneficial fluoride from the toothpaste present on your tooth surface for longer. Rinsing [with water] immediately dilutes this fluoride and reduces its preventative effects."
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.
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