DON’T Brush After Eating Acidic Food!

Brushing After Acidic Foods Is BAD For Your Teeth

The Mayo Clinic notes:

One caveat to brushing after you eat is if you’ve eaten an acidic food or drink – for example, orange juice. Avoid brushing your teeth for at least 30 minutes after acidic foods and beverages. These acids weaken tooth enamel, and brushing too soon can cause damage to the enamel.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

A published study suggests that scrubbing immediately after eating may be doing him more harm than good. While professional opinions may vary, Delaware dentist Jeffrey M. Cole, former president of the Academy of General Dentistry, a dental advocacy group, weighs in on this topic.

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“What we found is that much of the cariogenic substances, those things that cause cavities, are not only sugar-containing, but they are very acidic themselves,” says Dr. Cole.

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“When you eat or drink something acidic, the pH in your mouth goes down and can take some time to go back to normal.” The ideal pH of a mouth is about 7, while a soda—even a diet one—can be as low as 2.5 or “about the same as household vinegar,” says Dr. Cole. Acid demineralizes and weakens the tooth surface, making it more prone to decay.

Scrubbing with a toothbrush can actually encourage the process, according to a study published in the journal General Dentistry in 2004. “When you want to make etched glass, you apply an acid or an abrasive and scratch it—that is what happens if you drink a sports drink or a soda, or even wine, and brush right after,” says Dr. Cole. If you wait 30 minutes, however, “the saliva in your mouth will naturally bring the acid down to a more neutral pH and not rub acidic substances in.”


WebMD notes:

Don’t brush immediately after eating sweets or citrus fruits. Acidic foods temporarily soften enamel and may make it more susceptible to damage from brushing. Wait for up to an hour after you eat, giving your enamel time to re-harden. Then brush your teeth.

Prevention writes:

Acids in foods and drinks can soften tooth enamel, making teeth more sensitive and vulnerable to damage from brushing. Since you don’t always know if a meal contains highly acidic foods, wait an hour before you pick up your toothbrush regardless of what you eat. Bonus: Waiting also gives your saliva a chance to wash away acids and for the enamel to reharden.

CBS Chicago reports:

“The acid in the food binds with the saliva, and it weakens the enamel, leaving the tooth more susceptible to decay as well as erosion,” dentist Jill Pasinski of Riverwalk Family Dental in Naperville says.

That could brush the acid deeper into the enamel, she says.

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Dentists say it’s best to simply drink water or chew sugar-free gum.

“You actually increase the amount of saliva, which will actually bathe the tooth and rinse away any cavity-causing bacteria. And that constant bathing of the tooth will keep the tooth healthy,” Pasinski says.

Or just wait at least a half hour before brushing.

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  • kimyo

    also, wheat is worse for your teeth than sugar, in terms of decalcification:
    http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/07/unrefined-vs-refined-carbohydrates-and.html

    The researchers used teeth incubated in saline solution as the reference.
    The dentists were “blinded”, meaning they didn’t know which solution
    each tooth came from. This is a method of reducing bias.

    As one would predict from the graphs above, refined wheat is worse than
    refined corn, is worse than refined sugar. This is really at odds with
    conventional wisdom.

    It’s important to keep in mind that these results are not necessarily
    directly applicable to a living human being, who wouldn’t let a mouthful
    of wheat porridge sit in his mouth for five weeks. But it does show
    that refining carbohydrates may increase their ability to cause cavities
    due to a direct effect on the teeth (rather than by affecting
    whole-body nutritional status, which they do as well).

  • Tonto

    And for God sakes, if you MUST use mouth-wash, be sure and rinse the mouth-wash out of your mouth with water when you are through. That stuff destroys your gums.

    It’s better not to use mouthwash at all. Recent research indicates mouthwash can increase your risk of oral cancers.

  • Dimegirl

    Should i drink water and swish with plain water after eating something acidic? I know chewing Trident with Xylitol is a good thing to do.