Do you pick up your toothbrush as soon as you finish a meal? You might want to kick that habit.
Margielyn Jorgio, a doctor of dental medicine, says there are certain foods that soften the surface of the tooth (aka enamel) and scrubbing right away could wear it off, which is harmful.
"It's not advisable to brush your teeth as soon as your finish your food, especially if you ate something acidic. Your enamel is in the weak stage after consuming acidic food," she explains.
Examples of acidic foods are white rice, pasta, cheese, ice cream, peanuts, soft drinks, all forms of alcohol, and fruits like oranges and lemon. Acid makes teeth oversensitive and susceptible to damage from brushing.
Jorgio warns, "If you brush too soon, you will be pushing the acid in the enamel towards the dentin (structure of tooth next to enamel)."
If this happens, the damage will spread into deep structures. Soon, you'll find yourself complaining of tooth sensitivity, dental caries, and pulp damage.
"These problems will eventually lead to tooth loss if not prevented early."
Meanwhile, in a study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the researchers asked volunteers to wear human dentin samples for three weeks. They found an increase in dentin loss among those individuals who brush 20 minutes after finishing their soda. "However, after intra-oral periods of 30 and 60 min, wear was not significantly higher than in unbrushed controls."
"It is concluded that for protection of dentin surfaces at least 30 minutes should elapse before toothbrushing after an erosive attach," the researchers said in a statement.
Jorgio agrees with the conclusion, saying, "Waiting 30 minutes would allow your saliva to wash away the harmful acid."
In the meantime, she suggests rinsing the mouth with tap water. "Don't opt for mouthwash because this also has acid content. It has no difference with brushing your teeth."