Strong, white teeth are a god indicator of a healthy lifestyle. However, recent studies have indicated that brushing your teeth straight after eating is not a good idea.
It would seem common sense, to brush away any food particles which may have remained from your meal or snack. This has been the commonly accepted dental practice for a great number of years.
The theory behind this is that the sugars in foods are metabolized by any plaque or bacteria on the tooth enamel, which produces acid and causes cavities and gum disease.
The Academy of General Dentistry is now advocating avoiding brushing straight after eating. The reason behind this is the acidity level of the mouth. The ideal PH level for the mouth is approximately seven.
Most foods which cause tooth cavities contain sugar but “are very acidic themselves” according to Jeffrey M Cole, a former president of the dental advocacy group.
When these substances are consumed, the PH level in the mouth drops and it can take time to allow the PH balance to return. Brushing immediately after eating these foods can actually push the acid into the enamel of the teeth and compromise the enamel and the dentin below. This can make the teeth vulnerable to decay and cavities.
In one recent study, investigating these effects, a group of volunteers were examined for three weeks to see the effects of brushing teeth after they had consumed diet soda.
Diet soda, although sugar free can have a PH level of 2.5. The study documented an increase in the loss of dentin when the participants brushed within twenty minutes of consuming the soda, but there was a significantly reduced effect when brushing was postponed for thirty to sixty minutes.
The recommendations based on these conclusions is that it is better to wait a minimum of thirty minutes for brushing “after an erosive attack”.
These current recommendations support the results of studies conducted in England at the University of Newcastle. Their findings that over half of five year old children examined had tooth decay prompted recommendations that children should not brush their teeth for at least half an hour after eating.
Since many children and parents are unaware of how acidic foods are, brushing can soften the tooth enamel and cause cavities.
So, if you want to keep your pearly whites, nice and white, you should consider when and how you are brushing. Postponing brushing may actually help to improve the health of your teeth and gums.