Pace Brushing After Mealtime

Posted on Jul 23, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

In an effort to protect our teeth from accumulating bacteria that causes cavities, bad breath and gum disease, brushing after each meal is wise advice. Right?

Well, right — but there is a proper ‘time delay’ for brushing to avoid damage to tooth enamel. This is because anytime you eat or drink, your mouth endures an ‘acid attack.’ These acids weaken tooth enamel, and brushing too soon can cause damage to the enamel. Naturally, consuming highly-acidic edibles such as tomatoes or orange juice ramp up the acidity level of these attacks.

When eating stops, it takes about 20 minutes for an acid attack to subside. To avoid wearing away tooth enamel, avoid brushing for at least 30 minutes after eating or drinking. If you know you’re going to consume something high in acid ahead of time, brush your teeth first and then swish with water afterwards.

Beware high acid foods and beverages! Your tooth enamel can be the victim.

Beware high acid foods and beverages! Your tooth enamel can be the victim.

Oral bacteria are able to penetrate a tooth easily without its protective shell of enamel or enamel that is worn thin. This can result in cavities and weakened teeth that can lead to cracks or fractures. If a fractured tooth breaks below the gum line, the only recourse is to remove it. Then, an entirely new set of challenges begin.

Obvious high-acid consumables are citrus, coffee, wine, tomatoes (including sauces and catsup) and colas. However, foods and beverages that may have a higher acid content than you realize include corn, olives, blueberries, dairy products, white rice, white bread, bagels, eggs, peanuts and beer.

Our goal is to help you AVOID problems that could lead to any oral disease as well as tooth loss. Timing your brushing just right can help!

Recent Posts