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The Worst Time To Brush Your Teeth


The American Dental Association recommends flossing and brushing at least twice a day to maintain optimal oral health. We all know this~ it has been drilled into our heads since we were young. But a lesser known fact is that to preserve and protect tooth enamel, it is best to avoid brushing teeth for at least 30 minutes after consuming acidic meals, snacks, and sugary drinks.

Acid is very damaging to sensitive tooth enamel. Brushing too soon after consuming acidic foods or drinks can actually push acid deeper into tooth enamel, eroding enamel and the layer below it, called dentin. So diligent tooth-brushers may be doing more harm than good by brushing immediately after certain meals.

A recent study examined the impact of brushing teeth after drinking a sugar-free soda. Scientists found dentin loss to be more substantial in volunteers who brushed 20 minutes after consuming the beverage. The dentin damage was considerably less significant when volunteers waited 30 to 60 minutes to brush their teeth.

“It is concluded that for protection of dentin surfaces, at least 30 minutes should lapse before tooth brushing after an erosive attack,” wrote the authors of the study.

Rather than brushing your teeth following an acidic meal or beverage, try rinsing your mouth out with water. Another option is swishing with an acid-neutralizing mixture of one part baking soda to eight parts water. For more tips on tooth care and preserving enamel, speak with your dentist.

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Dr. Mark Gasbara
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    Mark J. Gasbara D.D.S.

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