Are You Hurting Your Teeth By Brushing Right After You Eat?
It's common to believe that brushing right after eating is good for you. After all, you get the food particles while they are fresh, so they don't have chance to get settled into your teeth. However, the truth is the opposite. Brushing right after eating could actually hurt your teeth more than it helps them.
Brush the Acid Around Your Mouth
Mayo Clinic states that you need to avoid brushing for at least 30 minutes after eating something acidic. Doing it earlier than this will just lead to the acid brushing around your mouth, and it will affect more of the enamel on your teeth. The acid weakens the enamel, so brushing actually removes it rather than protecting it.
If you know you will eat something acid, the best thing is to brush before eating. This offers your teeth some extra protection from the fluoride in the toothpaste.
You can have a glass of water after eating something. This can help promote the removal of the acid in a safe way. You could also eat something that balances the acid, like cheese, to help protect the enamel.
Try to Wait for Saliva
The 30 minute rule mentioned above helps to encourage the body to produce the saliva needed to help protect your mouth. Saliva helps to remove bacteria and food particles, and will also help to remove acid from the mouth.
There are enzymes in saliva that neutralize the mouth, helping to offer a buffer for the teeth against the acid. There are also calcium ions that will help to strengthen them from the damage already caused. Brushing won't give your mouth the time to produce the saliva. In fact, the body won't know that it has to produce it, meaning the mouth misses out on nutritional benefits.
When You Should Brush
Despite the rule above, there are times that brushing will be better for your teeth. If you eat something sticky or chewy, brushing will help to protect the teeth from damage. The sticky substances can get into the gaps of the teeth and stay there until you do something about them. They wear away at the enamel and can lead to plaque build-up, causing tooth decay.
Looking after your teeth is important. Brushing straight after you eat isn't always going to be the best thing to do, but it will depend on what you eat. Unless you've eaten something sticky, wait at least 30 minutes before you whip out that toothbrush. Talk to your dentist to learn more.