Timing Your Brushing!
When do you brush your teeth? It is recommended to brush your teeth twice a day – once in the morning and once at night. But in the end it’s really up to you to decide when brushing best fits into your schedule (as long as you make time to do it!)
Here are some interesting notes about how food, brushing and time affect your teeth to help you better “time” your brushings:
Brush to Remove Plaque
The goal of brushing your teeth is to remove plaque. Plaque bacteria along with the carbohydrates and sugars in your food create acid, which can lead to cavities and tooth decay. By removing the plaque, you can help minimize the amount of acid that is created and may avoid some types of decay. Because plaque builds up overnight while you are sleeping, we generally recommend that you brush first thing in the morning when you wake up to minimize the process of plaque bacteria feeding on sugars in your mouth.
But Don’t Brush Right After Eating
Plaque bacteria create acid almost immediately. Within seconds of bacteria’s exposure to sugars, the acidity of saliva changes from a neutral pH of 7 to an acidic pH of 4.5. This acidity leaves tooth enamel in a vulnerable state – not a good time to brush your teeth as the bristles may cause damage to the unprotected tooth. It takes about thirty minutes for saliva to return to a neutral, non-acidic pH so if you must brush after your meal, wait for at least a half an hour.
A Word on Acidic Foods/Drinks
Similarly to carbohydrate-rich foods, those that contain citric acid, like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons, also weaken tooth enamel. By brushing soon after eating these foods, you may cause damage to your teeth. Furthermore, exposure to phosphoric acid, found in soft drinks, can also cause acid erosion, wearing away enamel from the tooth surface and causing permanent damage. The bottom line is that to keep acid erosion at bay, limit soda consumption and be mindful of sugary snack foods.
Regardless of the time of day you choose to brush, the best defense is a good offense! Grab your toothbrush, toothpaste and get ready to attack that plaque! Call Richard C. Kennedy, Jr. DDS to discuss your oral health options or to add an exam and cleaning to your oral health routine!
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