I’m a dentist and I’ll explain the 3 times you should absolutely not brush your teeth

Even if the temptation to brush your teeth in these moments is very strong, we would be better off waiting a bit: we'll explain why

Your smile is often the first thing people notice about you, underscoring the importance of maintaining dental hygiene and health over time. We all know it’s crucial to brush at least twice a day, and incorporating daily use of mouthwash and dental floss can provide additional benefits.

Timing matters for oral health

As English dentist Shaadi Manouchehri explains in a TikTok video, even the timing of when we brush can impact our oral health. She highlights three specific times when brushing your teeth can do more harm than good:

After vomiting

Brushing immediately after vomiting is particularly detrimental. The stomach acids expelled during vomiting are highly acidic, and brushing right away can rub this acid into the teeth, causing damage. Instead, it’s advisable to rinse with fresh water to remove the acidic taste and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Right after breakfast

Rushing to brush your teeth immediately after breakfast can also harm your dental health.

Dr. Manouchehri notes that:

Brushing too soon after consuming acidic foods or drinks can wear away the enamel.

She recommends waiting 30 minutes after eating. This pause allows saliva to wash away the acids and gives enamel a chance to harden again.

Common acidic breakfast items include coffee, tea, orange juice, milk, and yogurt. If you eat breakfast early, consider waiting a while before brushing, or carry a toothbrush and toothpaste with you to use later at school or work.

After eating sweets

It might sound counterintuitive, but brushing right after indulging in sweets like cookies or chocolate can actually worsen the condition of your teeth. When we eat sweet foods, the enzymes in our mouth work overtime to neutralize the acids and protect our teeth. Brushing immediately can scrub these acids right onto the enamel, causing more damage.

If you need to rid your mouth of the sweet taste, try drinking water instead. This helps eliminate the sweet flavor and allows the food residues to be cleared more effectively. Waiting about an hour before brushing can give your mouth sufficient time to neutralize the pH levels.

The article draws upon studies published and recommendations from international institutions and/or experts. We do not make claims in the medical-scientific field and report the facts as they are. Sources are indicated at the end of each article.
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