Should you brush your teeth right after eating? Scientists answer

Brushing your teeth is part of everyday life and, unconsciously, we might feel the need to brush right after eating. Well, it might be smart to hold off!

Should you brush your teeth right after eating?
© Insecure / HBO
Should you brush your teeth right after eating?

Brushing our teeth is something that most humans learn how to do quite early on. Very quickly, it becomes part of everyday life. Besides wanting to have nice teeth, brushing your teeth is critically important to their health. Indeed, teeth can get damaged quickly and it is important to take care of them.

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That being said, teeth brushing appears to come with certain rules. Of course we know that we must go to bed with clean teeth but beyond that, there is more. Studies and dentists have revealed when is best to brush.

Should you brush right after eating?

Because a lot of us aim to follow rules and do the right thing, we believe that we should brush quickly after eating in order to not let bacteria take the time to create cavities. But this is wrong.

According to the American Dental Association, you should wait 60 minutes after eating before brushing your teeth. Colgate explains:

This gives your saliva a chance to naturally wash away food particles, so your mouth returns to its proper pH level.

If you want to help this process, the toothpaste maker suggests drinking water or chewing sugarless gum.

Foods to avoid before brushing your teeth

Not only should you wait 60 minutes to brush your teeth but there are certain foods that shouldn’t be consumed if you plan on brushing your teeth soon.

Mayo Clinic explains that ‘food or drinks that contain a lot of acids’ should be avoided. This includes soft drinks, citrus, sour candy and sports drinks. The same goes for sugary things.

They explain:

The acid in them can soften the enamel. Brushing too soon after you eat or drink something acidic can take the enamel off your teeth.

The enamel is a very important part of your teeth. It is the ‘hard outer coating that covers your teeth.’

Though we have been told since childhood to avoid sugar it turns out that there are other foods that shouldn’t be eaten before brushing your teeth.

Best Life reports the words of a dentist who, in a TikTok video, highlights specific foods that should be avoided.

Derek Chung says that you should never brush right after breakfast. Why, you ask? Well, for the same reason as before. Consuming food that is either sweet or acidic will soften your enamel. Early in the morning is a specifically sensitive time. However, Chung explains that you can still use mouthwash as it is less aggressive to the enamel than brushing.

White wine is another thing to avoid before brushing your teeth. Indeed, even though we may not think it, white wine is very acidic. The last food the dentist mentions is kimchi but this last advice can be applied to any pickled food. It goes without saying that these foods are particularly acidic and your mouth and teeth will require some time before returning to their normal pH level.

We hope that if there is one thing you take away from this article is the fact that you should refrain from brushing your teeth right after eating. It is okay to wait an hour before doing so and it doesn’t make you dirty.

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Mayo Clinic: When and how often should you brush your teeth?

Colgate: Is Brushing Teeth After Eating Good for You?

Best Life: Don't Brush Your Teeth After Eating These 3 Things, Dentist Warns

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