brush my teeth

Should I Brush My Teeth After Eating?

November 6, 2022

Brushing your teeth correctly is essential to good oral health and removes bacteria, plaque, and pieces of food from your teeth and gums. It is integral to keeping your mouth clean and healthy in between professional dental cleanings.

While it is essential to brush and floss your teeth twice daily, the timing of when you brush makes a difference and can impact the health of your teeth.

Brushing immediately after eating is not ideal and can harm your teeth. We will share with you what happens when you eat and why it is essential to wait to brush your teeth.

What Happens In Your Mouth When You Eat And Drink

Anytime you drink anything besides water, such as juice or soda, and eat food, it produces acid in your mouth, which begins the digestive process to help break down your food while chewing and swallowing. The acid, essential to digestion, can also weaken your tooth enamel, and when you brush immediately after eating, you can wear down your protective tooth enamel even more.

Wait To Brush Your Teeth After Eating

Since you were young, you probably heard that you must brush your teeth after you eat, but it is best to wait at least 30 minutes because it takes a minimum of 20 minutes for the acid in your mouth to subside. The risk of harming your tooth enamel will decrease if you wait, and your teeth will be healthier.

Eating Foods That Are Higher In Acidity

All drinks and foods except water activate oral acid, but some foods add even more to the acidity level. Eating foods like tomatoes, citrus fruits, coffee, wine, olives, blueberries, eggs, and beer have a higher acidity, which increases the possibility of damaging tooth enamel.

Prolonged and excessive exposure to phosphoric acid, often found in soda, increases the erosion of your tooth enamel, exposing the sensitive parts of your teeth to acidity. Acid erosion can permanently damage your teeth, so it is wise to keep it to a minimum by limiting snacking between meals, soft drinks, and sugary snack foods.

When you eat foods that are higher in acidity, swishing water around your mouth helps to remove any acid without brushing away your enamel. 

Eating nutritious foods low in carbohydrates and sugar after eating something acidic will help reduce the harmful acids created by certain foods.

Issues Caused By Worn Tooth Enamel

The Mayo Clinic states that brushing too soon after drinking or eating increases your chances of wearing away your tooth enamel. Once your enamel is gone, it doesn’t come back. Wearing away your tooth enamel makes your teeth more susceptible to bacteria penetrating your teeth, an increased risk of cavities, and weakened teeth. As teeth weaken, they are more likely to fracture, or you can develop cracked teeth below the gum line, and then you will need to replace them, bringing on a new set of dental challenges.

The best practice for brushing your teeth after you is to wait 30 minutes until the acid levels have decreased to help prevent wearing down your tooth enamel and to maintain excellent oral health.

Waiting to brush your teeth allows your saliva to naturally wash away pieces of food so your mouth can return to the proper PH levels. It is also best to only drink water during this time. If you experience pain or discomfort in your teeth, see your dentist as soon as possible.

Is It Okay To Wait Until Right Before Bedtime To Brush?

Absolutely! The most important thing is to wait until after your last meal and brush before bed. When you sleep without brushing, you allow plaque to build up, irritating gums, and hardening around your gum line. Ensure you brush your teeth at night and wait for at least 30 minutes after dinner. Brush your teeth correctly, cleaning all surfaces on your teeth and around your gum line.

This Does Not Mean Skip Brushing Your Teeth After Meals

Brushing your teeth twice daily, flossing, and regular professional dental cleanings are vital to oral health and maintaining a bright, white smile. Now that you understand the importance of waiting 30 minutes or more, you have all the information you need to make a good choice and ensure you’re taking good care of your teeth.

Get Expert Dental Care At Carrie Muzny DDS

At Carrie Muzny DDS, we offer professional dental care for the entire family. Our highly skilled team uses the latest technology and offers cosmetic and restorative procedures to preventative dentistry and surgical services. We are here to help you maintain your beautiful white smile and exceptional oral health. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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