When Should Tooth Brushing Be Avoided? | Dr. Alex Midtown NYC Cosmetic Dentist

When Should Tooth Brushing Be Avoided?

tooth brushing

We’ve all heard that daily tooth brushing is important, as it will leave your teeth looking and feeling healthy and clean, and it’s true. However, there are times in which it is not appropriate to brush, as doing so may cause more problems than it solves. Below are some examples.

Right After You’re Done Eating

One of the biggest myths involving tooth brushing is that it should be done right after meals, but this is absolutely not true. The reason is due to a phenomenon which is called oral clearance. Human saliva is responsible for eliminating food debris, as well as standardizing the pH level within the mouth so a healthy oral equilibrium can be maintained. However, the kicker is that it takes a certain amount of time for this process to occur. This is why when brushing after meals you should wait at least thirty minutes. If you instead choose to brush immediately after you’re done eating, your enamel will become acid exposed, with the external layer becoming softened by it over time.

Right After You’ve Vomited

This is arguably the worst time for brushing teeth, although the desire to do so is understandable. When someone vomits they are essentially eliminating the contents of their stomach, which comes up through their mouth, getting on the tongue, gums and teeth. Brushing seems to make sense, as it can clean up the oral cavity. However, the trouble with doing so is that stomach acids are very potent, so much so that they can damage tooth enamel. This is the reason why many individuals who suffer from eating disorders (and throw up frequently) have dental issues as they get older. So rather than brushing your teeth after you’ve vomited, a wiser solution is to simply swish some water around in your mouth for about thirty seconds and then spit it out.

After You’ve Consumed Acidic Foods Or Beverages

When you consume foods or beverages which are acidic, the acids they contain will pose a challenge to your tooth enamel. This includes fruit such as oranges or lemon, sodas and juice. However, if you brush immediately after consuming these things, you suffer a double whammy. This is because your dental cavity is responsible for creating a buffer which reduces the impact of acids on your teeth and gums. This is done through plaque, which in moderate levels is healthy (it is the thick calcified plaque which is bad as it attracts unhealthy bacteria).

The plaque creates a film on the teeth which serves as a barrier preventing acids from coming into actual contact with the enamel. However, those who brush immediately after consuming acidic meals or beverages will brush the plaque film away, leaving their enamel completely vulnerable. So the wisest course of action is to limit your intake of acidic foods and drinks in general, and when you do indulge be sure not to brush your teeth until at least an hour has passed.