Rinsing after brushing teeth might diminish the effectiveness of fluoride toothpaste against cavities, Taipei Medical University Shuang Ho Hospital Department of Dentistry director Huang Mao-suan (黃茂栓) said at a nursing and hygiene education seminar hosted by the Health Promotion Administration on Friday.
Fluoride has been proven to be the most effective substance in preventing tooth decay, Huang said, adding that toothpaste with more than 1,000 parts per million of fluoride is recommended.
Maintaining a higher concentration of fluoride in the mouth could help prevent tooth corrosion caused by acid and help suppress bacteria, Huang said.
He added that people should spit out residual toothpaste when they finish brushing, but not rinse with water for half an hour to keep the fluoride in the mouth.
Allowing fluoride to rest in the mouth for 30 minutes is recommended for adults and children alike, Huang said.
According to a study by the Bureau of Health Promotion, the administration’s predecessor, the incidence of dental caries grew from 58 percent of three-year-olds and 73 percent of six-year-olds in 2006 to 61 percent and 79 percent respectively in 2011.
School-aged children on average have 2.5 permanent teeth that show signs of dental caries, with Taiwan narrowly trailing the Philippines and Cambodia, the study showed.
Taiwan failed to meet the WHO’s standard of an average of 2 teeth or less or its own standard of 2.3 teeth, the study showed.
Children are encouraged to use fluoridated mouthwash, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said.
Since 2013, the ministry has subsidized a program to coat the teeth of children under six with a layer of fluoride every three to six months, as well as another program to administer four applications of molar sealant in children aged six to nine.
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