You are probably well aware of the fact that brushing your teeth every day is crucial to preventing tooth decay. However, did you know there is actually a wrong time to brush? Though it may seem like a great time to clean your teeth, recent studies confirm that brushing immediately after a meal could actually be doing more damage than good. You can blame acid neutralization for this slight inconvenience.
To prevent cavities, you need to maintain an ideal neutral pH level of 7 in your mouth. Highly acidic foods or drinks will start to demineralize your tooth enamel and invite tooth decay. If you rush to grab your toothbrush after soda or sugary foods, you are only encouraging acid damage by rubbing the acids into your tooth enamel before your saliva has a chance to do its job and neutralize the pH levels in your mouth. A soda, for example has a pH level of about 2.5, which is the same number as the highly acidic household vinegar! You can allow an average of about 30 minutes after eating for your mouth to take care of the acidity.
However, there are ways you can get that clean mouth feeling after a meal if you need it immediately. Simply rinsing with water will help neutralize the acids in your mouth and clear food particles away. If it is fresh breath that you are after, rinse with antibacterial mouthwash or grab a stick of xylitol chewing gum, which acts as an extra bonus to preventing tooth decay.
Although brushing immediately after a meal is not very beneficial, there are still plenty of other times in the day that are. Dentists recommend brushing twice a day for two minutes a day to keep those cavities away.
Posted on behalf of Dr. David Janash, Park South Dentistry