When It’s Not a Good Idea to Brush Your Teeth After You Eat

So you know you’re supposed to brush your teeth at least twice a day, right? If you’re like most of us, you probably figure that the more times a day you brush your teeth, the better. Well, guess what? According to dentists, afterward after a meal can do more harm than good.

Do you brush your teeth after breakfast? It may be better to brush when you first wake up, instead. This is because when you eat or drink something with a low pH level, it can damage your enamel to brush immediately afterward. Which foods have low pH levels? Anything acidic, like citrus fruits. So if you’ve had orange juice with your breakfast, for instance, brushing your teeth right after your meal can wear away at your enamel. (By the way, coffee is acidic too, but not as acidic as citrus.)

Why is it bad to brush after eating acidic foods? These foods can soften your enamel, and then when you brush, you can wear that enamel down. When your enamel wears away, it allows cavities to form in your mouth. If you’ve eaten anything sugary that can stick to your teeth, you’re at an even higher risk of cavities, because that sugar can stay in the mouth even after brushing. Rather than brushing right after a meal, it’s a better idea to rinse with water to remove any food particles from your mouth, and then wait at least thirty minutes after a meal before picking up your toothbrush.

What happens during those thirty minutes? Your saliva goes to work. Saliva is one of the body’s biggest defenses against tooth enamel erosion and cavities. It neutralizes the pH in your mouth, making it safe for you to brush without fear of eroding your teeth.

For optimal oral health, brush at least twice a day, allowing at least thirty minutes after a meal before brushing. Use a soft-bristled brush, and brush your teeth for two minutes, using short, circular back and forth motions, and remembering to brush your tongue as well. Floss at least once a day, and use a mouthwash with fluoride. Eat a nutrient-dense diet, full of fruits, vegetables, and calcium-rich foods, and see your dentist every six months.

If you’re looking for a dentist in New York, consider Park 56 Dental Group, where we provide personalized, quality dental care in a spa-like environment. We serve the Midtown, Central Park, Upper East Side, Park Avenue, and all surrounding Manhattan and New York areas, with a patient-centered practice that has hours to fit your schedule. Schedule your complimentary consultation today by contacting us online or calling us at (212) 826-2322.