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Month: July 2023

6th July 2023

Should I wait a while after eating or drinking before I brush my teeth?

The short answer is yes! This question is often brought up at the practice.

Commonly our patients will often tell us that they ‘give their teeth a good brush’ after eating or drinking anything, especially anything sweet. Our team of dentists, dental therapists and dental nurses would rather you didn’t, well, not straight away anyway and here’s why!


When we eat, the pH in our mouth shifts. The pH is the scale that determines how acidic an environment or not, your mouth is. After eating and drinking, our mouths temporarily become more acidic-this is a hostile environment for our teeth, our enamel begins to demineralise at this point

and overall these are superb conditions for tooth decay and acid erosion to start to think about kicking in!


During this time, your enamel is vulnerable!! Brushing your teeth at this point potentially brushes sugars and acids into your teeth and brushing itself will also physically have a more abrasive action on enamel right now than at another time.


The good news!

Our mouths are amazing, saliva is a superhero! Saliva gradually neutralises this acid over a period of time (typically around 30 minutes or so) and helps to remineralise our enamel. After this time has passed, you can safely brush your teeth.


So people will ask us…..”What? So I need to wait 30 minutes after breakfast before I brush my teeth? I don’t have the time!”. It is a tricky one, right? Either you can get up earlier, to allow yourself the time to have your breakfast, wait 30 minutes and then brush those toothy pegs, or brush when you first get up and not after you have eaten. Honestly, your teeth will thank you for it!


If you don’t like the idea of leaving the house after breakfast without brushing, then rinsing with water after eating will help clear any food debris. You could even use a daily fluoride mouthwash at this point instead of brushing if you’re really feeling the need for something extra. Chewing sugar free chewing gum will also give you a minty kick and the chewing action stimulates your saliva flow-and we know how good the saliva is for our teeth!


When it comes to brushing, it is essential that your teeth are cleaned thoroughly twice a day. Last thing at night before you go to bed is a non-negotiable time to brush-it just has to be done (and yes-this also should be 30 minutes after eating or drinking, so lay off the late night snacks!). Any remaining plaque and food debris from the day needs to be completely removed before hitting the sack. At night, our mouths become dryer, less saliva means less protection against tooth decay so it is imperative that our teeth get the best chance at survival! The second brush of the day, however, well, timing is less important, it has to be done but when is up to you….just make sure it is at least 30 minutes after you have last eaten or drank (water doesn’t count).


Happy Brushing!

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