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A 33-year-old female asked:

is it true that after you eat a meal, you have to wait a little while before you brush yout teeth, because your enamel wears off quicker?

4 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Edmund Lipskis
Dentistry 40 years experience
You shouldn't wait.: The acid buildup from the bacteria in your mouth utilizing the food you have remaining is actually what breaks down the enamel. You want to eliminate the food the bacteria will utilize as soon as possible. If you can't brush, you should at least rinse with water to neutralize the acid as much as possible and rinse away food particles. Avoid acid foods and drinks like soda pop as much as possible.
Dr. Brett Noorda
Dentistry 25 years experience
Not really: For most meals this is untrue. Acids are what weaken tooth surfaces, so only exceptionally acidic meals will weaken the surface of the teeth, and it would be much worse to let your teeth bathe in the residual acid after such a meal than to rinse and brush with Fluoride toothpaste (which makes the teeth more resistant to acid) and reduce the acid levels.
Dr. Kenneth Grossman
A Verified Doctoranswered
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No: In fact, brushing and flossing soon after you eat is preferable. A clean mouth prevents bacteria from having substrate to produce the harmful acids that cause decay. It also eliminates debris from the gum sulcus that causes gum inflamation!
Dr. Gary Sandler
Dentistry 54 years experience
No, but....: You've already heard from my colleagues that you should brush as soon as possible after eating.That is absolutely true. Recent research has shown that when you drink certain very acidic foods such as many sports drinks & certain fruit drinks, & after regurgitating, you can rinse out right away but should wait approximately 30 minutes before brushing. If not, chemical erosion will wear tooth away.

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Last updated May 5, 2015

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