Many of us have been told at some point that we should brush our teeth after every meal. But is it really necessary to pull out your toothbrush for a thorough scrubbing after breakfast, lunch and dinner? The answer is not a simple yes or no. While brushing your teeth directly after eating is often beneficial, it can also damage your teeth!
Whether or not a meal or snack warrants brushing depends wholly on the type of food you’ve consumed. Here, we’ll explain when you should brush right away, when you should wait, and what are the best times to brush every day.
When to Brush Right Away
Typically, it is not recommended to brush your teeth immediately after eating, as the acidity in some foods and drinks can actually soften the enamel on your teeth. However, when it comes to sticky, chewy foods that may linger on your teeth, – paving the way for cavities to take over – it’s a good idea to go ahead and brush. Here are a few examples of foods that you should brush away instead of allowing to cling to your teeth.
– Hard candy and lollipops
– Chewy candies like caramels
– Dried fruit or gummy snacks
When to Wait Before Brushing
In most other cases, it is recommended that you wait at least 30 to 60 minutes before brushing your teeth after a meal. This is the amount the time necessary for your mouth to produce enough saliva to neutralize the acidity. By brushing before the acidity has been neutralized, however, you are putting you teeth at greater risk of enamel erosion due to the increased exposure to acid. To help keep your teeth strong and healthy, you should always wait to brush your teeth after consuming foods and drinks like:
– Fruits and fruit juice (especially citrus!)
– Soda and other sugary drinks
The Best Time to Brush
When it comes to brushing your teeth, it’s important to think like a dentist. Instead of a way to remove food from your teeth, think of brushing as a way to remove plaque. The most effective way to keep your teeth plaque-free is by simply brushing twice a day – once in the morning and once before bed. While the garlic bread or sticky candy bar you snacked on earlier in the afternoon may call for a mid-day brushing session, you don’t have to brush after every meal. In fact, your teeth may even end up healthier if you don’t!
Don’t Forget Your Regular Dental Cleanings!
A good oral hygiene routine includes twice daily brushing, a dentist-recommended toothpaste and regular flossing. But that’s not all you need to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy as can be. It’s also important to make regular trips to your dentist for professional dental cleanings and oral health checkups. At Daxon Dentistry, we know a beautiful smile begins with health. Give us a call to schedule your next visit or request an appointment online to get your teeth the care they need.