Do you brush your teeth right after eating meals? While cleaning your teeth off right away may seem like a great idea, this practice could actually do more harm than good. Instead of clearing away plaque, brushing too soon after eating could damage your enamel and weaken your teeth. Read on as your Casper dentist explains how this process works and how you can keep your smile clean and safe.
The Dangers of Brushing Too Soon
The protective shell of enamel around your teeth is the hardest substance in your body. However, it is not indestructible. The natural oral bacteria in your mouth feed off the sugars in the foods you eat, which creates a harmful acid that can burn through your enamel. Additionally, if the pH balance in your mouth becomes unbalanced and more acidic, your enamel will soften and become vulnerable in a process known as demineralization.
Saliva is your body’s natural defense against both these offenders. Not only does it wash away the plaque and food particles in your mouth, but it also neutralizes the acids and strengthens your enamel. However, if you brush your teeth too soon after eating, you’ll simply be rubbing these acids into your weakened enamel. This damages your enamel even further, increasing your risk of tooth sensitivity, cavities, and other oral health issues.
Tips for Protecting Your Enamel
There are several ways you can protect your teeth from detrimental acids without damaging your enamel, like:
- Wait at least 30 minutes after eating before brushing your teeth. This gives your saliva enough time to neutralize the acids in your mouth and make it safe to brush your teeth.
- Drink water with your meals and chew sugarless gum afterwards. Drinking water during and after your meal will wash away any lingering food particles. Chewing sugarless gum is a great way to naturally encourage saliva production.
- Minimize exposure to acidic foods and drinks. The longer acid is in contact with your enamel, the more damage it can do. Avoid consuming acidic items like oranges, pineapple, lemonade, and soda over long periods of time to reduce your exposure.
- Get a dental checkup every six months. Your dentist will be able to identify weakening enamel before you can feel it, so it’s important to see your Casper family dentist regularly. They may suggest ways to improve your dental routine or a specialize service like fluoride treatment.
- Talk to your dentist about your concerns. Tooth sensitivity, discoloration, and decay are all warning signs of weakened enamel. If you notice these symptoms, you should bring your concerns to your dentist. With their help, you can create a customized treatment plan to get your oral health back on track.
About the Author
Dr. Erin Prach of Casper, WY is dedicated to helping you achieve and maintain the happy, healthy smile you’ve always wanted. That’s why she encourages all her patients to come in for their routine dental checkup and cleaning every six months to keep their oral health at its best. However, she knows that great dental care starts at home, so she would also be happy to take the time to go over with you the best ways to take care of your smile in your daily life. To learn more, feel free to contact her via her website or at (307) 337-4770.