The ADA has recommended brushing your teeth at least twice a day for years now. Lots of people prefer to brush more often and, in fact, make a mad dash to the sink immediately after eating. There are many reasons people prefer to brush after meals. Establishing fresh breath, good oral health, and removing food particles are of utmost importance to the majority. Contrary to popular belief, your dental health could actually become compromised if you brush too soon after eating.
Certain foods, particularly acidic ones, can soften the enamel on those pearly whites making them more susceptible to cavities, discoloration, and decay. Additionally, the process of brushing can push the acid further into your enamel, all the way to the underlying layer called the dentin, causing more damage. These foods include, but are not restricted to, citrus fruits, soda, pickles, and even particular salad dressings.
Studies have shown that waiting 30-60 minutes between meals and brushing can decrease your risk for enamel and dentin loss. This brief hiatus gives your mouth a chance to re-establish normal pH levels before applying pressure and brushing away that most valued, protective layer on your teeth. Instead of grabbing the brush after leaving the table, eat something alkaline then rinse your mouth with water. You can even chew a piece of sugar-free gum with xylitol to help, especially if fresh-smelling breath is a priority.
Another activity that can speed the alkalizing process along is to eat a piece of cheese or drink some milk after finishing a meal. Calcium is a great acid neutralizer and a wonderful mineral in and of itself for promoting long-term healthy teeth and bones.