It's common to want to brush your teeth right after you eat something. This is especially true when you consume items that may be hard on your teeth like acids from coffee, soda or juice. You want to get right in there and scrub that bad stuff off your teeth. It's a natural impulse, but the best course of action is to wait. You have a better form of defense than brushing, and there are a couple other measures you can take to fight the bad stuff on your teeth until it's safe to brush. Let's examine why you shouldn't brush your teeth right after you eat or drink.
There are many foods and drinks that are tough on your teeth. Of course we're all familiar with sugar, and carbohydrates from salty snacks can foster bacteria that leads to tooth decay. Another big culprit is the acids found in items like soda and fruit juice. All three of these foods can cause damage and wear away enamel if they stay on your teeth too long. It only makes sense that you should brush these harmful foods off right away. But before you rush to the bathroom, read more below.
As we outlined above, once you eat foods harmful to your teeth, especially acids, it's a natural urge to want to go to the sink and brush them off right away. However it turns out that it's better to wait about a half an hour before you brush. Here's why. Remember all those harmful acids hanging out on your teeth after you eat? Toothpaste doesn't just neutralize them on contact. If only it was so easy. Instead brushing can actually spread those acids around, transporting them to areas more prone to decay. As time goes on, your teeth will "adjust" so to speak, and you'll be ready to brush off those harmful foods and acids. You should wait about 20 to 30 minutes before you brush before this reason.
So do you simply wait around idly while the acids act upon your teeth? Of course not, there are several things you can do. First, rinsing your mouth with a glass of water is a great way to wash away those acids right after you eat. Once you rinse, the most effective way to ensure your teeth are fighting the acids is to stimulate your saliva. You saliva is a natural bacteria and acid fighting compound, and you want to make sure your teeth are covered by it vs. having dry teeth. These two simple actions can help clean your teeth while you wait.
While it's a good rule of thumb to wait several minutes before brushing your teeth, this is certainly not an excuse to wait too long or put off brushing altogether. Eventually you'll want to give your teeth a thorough cleaning after eating and drinking sugars, carbohydrates and acids. Think about it this way. You go out to eat, finish a meal and pay the check. It's still going to take you some time to get home after eating out. This will be the time you wait, but as soon as you're back home, head to the sink to brush your teeth. Developing good habits after eating will ensure your teeth stay strong.
We realize this approach can be a bit confusing for some, especially since you may be used to brushing your teeth directly after you eat. Not to worry! We're here anytime and ready to answer any questions you may have. We encourage you to come in for a checkup if you're overdue, and we'll answer any questions you may have in the process. Schedule an appointment today at our Contact Page.