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Why Do You Wait to Brush After Anything Acidic?

Posted on 6/15/2017 by Lemond Hunter
A cup of warm coffee.
You hear all the time how brushing your teeth is important. It removes plaque, bacteria, and lingering food particles from your teeth and mouth.

It would make sense that brushing right after eating prevents bacteria from getting to work on destroying your teeth, however, this is not always the case. In fact, waiting to brush your teeth is more beneficial, especially following anything acidic.

Acid Erosion

Most people think that sugar is the only culprit for causing tooth decay. Bacteria eat the sugars and produce harmful acids that eat away at the enamel (the protective, hard outer layer) of your teeth. This is not the only source of erosion. High levels of acid from foods are just as guilty.

Foods high in acid that are dangerous for your teeth include:

•  Soft drinks, including diet varieties.
•  Wine.
•  Fruit juices.
•  Citrus fruits.
•  Coffee.

How is Brushing Harmful?

Acidic foods leach calcium, an essential building block for strength, from your teeth, weakening your enamel, making your teeth more susceptible to decay, as well as a well as several other tooth issues, such as cracks and breaks.

If you brush immediately after eating, you risk brushing away vulnerable enamel, wearing away at the protective layer of your teeth. Once gone, it is very difficult to get back.

Signs of Erosion

There are a few signs of acid erosion that you should be on the lookout for:

•  Tooth sensitivity. Wearing enamel exposes the layer underneath, dentin. Dentin houses hollow channels that lead to the roots of your teeth, so they are exposed to extreme temperatures.
•  Discoloration. Dentin is naturally darker in color.
•  Transparency around the edges of your teeth.
•  Rounded teeth.
•  Cracks or rough edges around your teeth.
•  Cupping - small dents on your teeth's chewing surfaces.

What Can You Do?
There are ways to avoid suffering acid erosion:

•  Eat or drink acidic foods and drinks with the rest of your meal. Other foods can neutralize acids.
•  Drink water after anything acidic.
•  Drink through a straw, which minimizes contact with teeth.
•  Wait at least half an hour to brush following eating.

Waiting to brush after acidic foods and beverages can save your teeth from the dangers of acid erosion. If you do notice signs of erosion, contact our office right away.


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