Is it bad to brush your teeth after eating?
Short answer: DEPENDS.
How many times have we heard the phrase: “Brush your teeth immediately after eating!” Since we were little we have grown up to this tradition, we followed it and even taught it to the new generations. But it is not always convenient to brush your teeth right after eating, on the contrary, it could damage our teeth.
Let's see why...
The pH of our mouth is 7, that is, neutral. When eating, the acidity of the mouth tends to rise depending on our diet. Acidic foods have a pH of 0 to 6, among them are fried foods, citrus fruits and juices, soy sauce, vinegar, and carbonated, alcoholic, and caffeinated beverages. Eating these foods causes a rise in acidity in the mouth that softens the enamel. So if we brush at this time when the enamel is temporarily weakened, this will cause erosion instead of protection.
Experts recommend waiting 20 minutes after eating, giving time for our saliva to neutralize the acid in the mouth. In addition, it provides the necessary time for the calcium present in the saliva to adhere to the tooth enamel and hardens it again.
"The problem is in the enamel, due to the acid, it immediately begins to lose calcium, leaving the tooth softer. Brushing just makes the situation worse," Dentist Llorda Calvo told BBC Mundo.
Another option is rinsing your mouth or drinking water after eating and before brushing your teeth. Water, drunk or just for rinsing, has the same effect as our saliva: it offsets the acidic pH.
Also, it's not good to brush your teeth after each meal if you eat 5 or 6 times a day. Brushing so often is also not good. Avoid eating between meals and if you're going to eat dessert, do it after your meals. The saliva produced after eating will compensate for the effect of sugar much better than if you eat a sweet at mid-evening.
And acids are worse than sugars?
Short answer: No.
They can be just as damaging but in different ways. The acid demineralizes tooth enamel making the tooth more susceptible to abrasion. Sugar is the ingredient on which the bacteria in the mouth feed and, as a result, produce an acid that attacks the teeth. If it is not removed at the right time, it can cause damage to the teeth and enamel due to the permanent contact of the acid with the dental pieces.
If you follow a varied diet, avoid this type of food, have healthy enamel, and brush two or three times a day, it is not so necessary that you be aware of how long you wait. However, sometimes it is okay to treat yourself and eat what you want. Just take into account the following recommendations:
Wait for 20 to 30 minutes after eating or drinking any sugary or acidic foods.
Rinse with water after eating and before brushing
Avoid eating between meals.
Drink a lot of water
Brush at least twice a day for two minutes.
If you are going to use fluoride toothpaste, use the correct amount and no more than twice a day.
If you're using fluoride-free toothpaste like TeethTab, just keep in mind what you ate so you know whether or not you'll brush right away 😉
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Thanks for reading.
Your Team, TeethTab.