Dental Myths 101: Should I Brush My Teeth as Soon as I’m Done Eating?
It’s a common refrain heard in households all around the country:
“Remember to brush your teeth after dinner!”
And while the caring parents who say this mean well, brushing immediately after a meal isn’t always the best way to keep your teeth clean and healthy. Depending on the situation, it may be better to wait. So how can you tell when it’s best to brush immediately after a meal and when you should wait until bedtime? Here’s what you need to know.
How Brushing Your Teeth After Meals Keeps Your Mouth Healthy
Brushing your teeth after a meal is the best way to prevent tooth decay and keep your teeth healthy. By brushing after a meal, you remove food particles from your teeth and prevent them from forming plaque. And with some foods – like carbohydrate-rich pastas and breads – brushing immediately after a meal is the best way to stop acid attacks before they start and remove bacteria before they get a chance to eat away at your enamel.
The Best Times to Brush: After Breakfast and Just Before Bedtime
It’s common wisdom in the dental community that you need to brush your teeth twice a day. Most dentists also generally agree that the best times to brush your teeth are immediately after you eat breakfast and immediately before you go to bed. Brushing after breakfast (rather than before) ensures that that your teeth stay clean for the day, while brushing right before bedtime will remove food particles from dinner and keep your teeth clean all night. The primary purpose of brushing is to prevent food particles from causing acid attacks, and the best way to do that is to ensure that your teeth stay plaque-free overnight.
Wait 30 Minutes After Eating Acidic Foods
Brushing your teeth immediately after a meal is designed to prevent acid attacks, which is why it only works if the acid attack hasn’t started yet. If you’ve just finished eating or drinking something highly acidic, then the acid attack will already be underway when you start brushing.
Acidic foods and drinks can leave your enamel soft and vulnerable, and if you brush your teeth before your enamel has had a chance to harden itself, you may end up brushing your enamel right off. That’s why most dentists advise waiting 30 minutes after consuming acidic foods or beverages before you brush your teeth – after the 30-minute mark, your enamel has re-hardened and won’t be removed by brushing.
Brushing your teeth after a meal is a great way to remove plaque, but in some cases it can do more harm than good. The absolute best times to brush your teeth are immediately after breakfast and immediately before bedtime. But if you’ve eaten something acidic, you’ll want to wait a full 30 minutes before you start brushing. Your local Tucson dentist can help you to master the right brushing technique and maintain proper oral hygiene. For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Badie, contact Badie Dental today at (520) 433-9800.