Why Not to Brush Your Teeth Too Soon After a Meal
Many people choose to brush their teeth after eating to remove food particles that can lead to the buildup of plaque and bacteria that is harmful to teeth and gums. However, brushing too soon after a meal can actually cause more damage to teeth in the long run.
Acids remain in the mouth for a period of time after eating or drinking. Brushing teeth can push tiny particles of acid through the porous tooth enamel and into the softer tissue of the dentin, allowing the acid to erode inside of the teeth.
Some research studies have shown that teeth may erode more quickly when they are brushed following acidic or carbonated beverages. While acid is present in the mouth, it can temporarily weaken the enamel covering of the teeth. Brushing teeth in this weakened state causes some of the enamel to be removed with brushing, resulting in weaker teeth.
Saliva helps neutralize acids present in the mouth. Once the acids are neutralized, teeth are not damaged with brushing. Most acids are neutralized in a half hour or more, so waiting an hour after drinking or eating to brush is safest for teeth. Waiting an hour is not harmful to teeth, as plaque and bacteria do not have time to harm teeth in that short of a time period.