How Soon After Eating Should You Brush Your Teeth?

Middle-aged woman with brown hair in a green shirt eating an apple.

At Paris Mountain Dental, we try to help our patients establish good preventive care routines. As part of this regimen, we ask our patients to brush their teeth twice daily for two minutes each time. However, Dr. Ghimire gets many questions from patients about the best time to brush, such as whether it’s best to brush before or after breakfast. There are actually a few reasons that the timing of your toothbrushing matters for you and your family.

Fight Back Against Bacteria

Consuming certain foods, like those high in carbohydrates or sugars, can spawn the creation of bacteria that feed on them for up to 20 minutes after you eat. If you brush right after eating sugary or high-carb foods, you can get rid of these bacteria before they begin to wear away at your enamel.

Watch Out for Acidic Foods

However, if you have just consumed food or drink that’s high in acid like orange juice or other citrus products, you should wait to brush your teeth for at least 30 minutes. Foods high in acid weaken your tooth enamel. If you brush too soon after consuming them, you can damage your enamel and push the acid deeper into the enamel and dentin.

In fact, if you know you’re going to be eating acidic foods, it’s a better idea to brush before eating and then drink a glass of water when finished. Water helps wash away the acid left behind on teeth and limit the damage.

As a general rule, we recommend waiting a good 30 minutes to an hour after eating to brush your teeth. Even better, limit your intake of acidic or sugary foods to cut down on your risk for cavities. If you have any additional questions about brushing your teeth or your oral health, or if you’re ready to schedule your next appointment, call our office today.

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