orangesDentists are fond of reminding our patients of the importance of brushing on a regular basis, at least twice a day.  A completely unscientific, random polling of the staff here at Dentistry For Children reveals that most of us brush immediately after waking up, and immediately before going to sleep. However, some of us brush after each meal, and that includes lunch.

This got us to wondering if there is ever a bad time to brush your teeth?

The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice a day and leaves it at that.  Brushing at night before bedtime is especially important since it removes all of the plaque and food debris that has built up over the course of the day.  Leaving any food or sugars on your teeth overnight, when they are especially susceptible to acid produced by cavity causing bacteria, is a big No No.

It’s often suggested that one brushes after eating which on the surface makes a lot of sense since one wants to remove any sticky substances that could remain on your teeth.  However, studies have shown that you should wait 30 minutes before brushing after drinking soda, sports drinks or orange juice, and after eating very acidic foods (ie. tomato sauce). The combination of the acid with brushing can actually cause your teeth to lose enamel. Also, waiting to brush may allow the protective agents in saliva to help repair and rebuild tooth enamel damaged by acidity.

If you’re interested, here’s a link to an informative article:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/21/really-never-brush-your-teeth-immediately-after-a-meal/

Bottom line?  Never brush immediately after an acidic meal or drink. Always wait at least 30 minutes.

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