Brushing After Acidic Foods Is BAD For Your Teeth
The Mayo Clinic notes:
One caveat to brushing after you eat is if you’ve eaten an acidic food or drink – for example, orange juice. Avoid brushing your teeth for at least 30 minutes after acidic foods and beverages. These acids weaken tooth enamel, and brushing too soon can cause damage to the enamel.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
A published study suggests that scrubbing immediately after eating may be doing him more harm than good. While professional opinions may vary, Delaware dentist Jeffrey M. Cole, former president of the Academy of General Dentistry, a dental advocacy group, weighs in on this topic.
“What we found is that much of the cariogenic substances, those things that cause cavities, are not only sugar-containing, but they are very acidic themselves,” says Dr. Cole.
“When you eat or drink something acidic, the pH in your mouth goes down and can take some time to go back to normal.” The ideal pH of a mouth is about 7, while a soda—even a diet one—can be as low as 2.5 or “about the same as household vinegar,” says Dr. Cole. Acid demineralizes and weakens the tooth surface, making it more prone to decay.
Scrubbing with a toothbrush can actually encourage the process, according to a study published in the journal General Dentistry in 2004. “When you want to make etched glass, you apply an acid or an abrasive and scratch it—that is what happens if you drink a sports drink or a soda, or even wine, and brush right after,” says Dr. Cole. If you wait 30 minutes, however, “the saliva in your mouth will naturally bring the acid down to a more neutral pH and not rub acidic substances in.”
Don’t brush immediately after eating sweets or citrus fruits. Acidic foods temporarily soften enamel and may make it more susceptible to damage from brushing. Wait for up to an hour after you eat, giving your enamel time to re-harden. Then brush your teeth.
Acids in foods and drinks can soften tooth enamel, making teeth more sensitive and vulnerable to damage from brushing. Since you don’t always know if a meal contains highly acidic foods, wait an hour before you pick up your toothbrush regardless of what you eat. Bonus: Waiting also gives your saliva a chance to wash away acids and for the enamel to reharden.
CBS Chicago reports:
“The acid in the food binds with the saliva, and it weakens the enamel, leaving the tooth more susceptible to decay as well as erosion,” dentist Jill Pasinski of Riverwalk Family Dental in Naperville says.
That could brush the acid deeper into the enamel, she says.
Dentists say it’s best to simply drink water or chew sugar-free gum.
“You actually increase the amount of saliva, which will actually bathe the tooth and rinse away any cavity-causing bacteria. And that constant bathing of the tooth will keep the tooth healthy,” Pasinski says.
Or just wait at least a half hour before brushing.