I grew up with my mum constantly telling me “Remember to brush your teeth after dinner!”. It's a common refrain heard in households all around the country.

While she had my best interests at heart was it really the correct thing to do?

While the caring parents who say this mean well, brushing immediately after a meal isn’t always the best way to keep your teeth clean and healthy. Depending on the situation, it may be better to wait.

So how can you tell when it’s best to brush immediately after a meal and when you should wait until bedtime? Here’s what you need to know.

Brushing your teeth after a meal is the best way to prevent tooth decay and keep your teeth healthy. By brushing after a meal, you remove food particles from your teeth and prevent them from forming plaque. And with some foods – like carbohydrate-rich pastas and breads – brushing immediately after a meal is the best way to stop acid attacks before they start and remove bacteria before they get a chance to eat away at your enamel.

It’s common wisdom in the dental community that you need to brush your teeth twice a day. Most dentists also generally agree that the best times to brush your teeth are immediately after you eat breakfast and immediately before you go to bed.

Brushing after breakfast (rather than before) ensures that that your teeth stay clean for the day, while brushing right before bedtime will remove food particles from dinner and keep your teeth clean all night. The primary purpose of brushing is to prevent food particles from causing acid attacks, and the best way to do that is to ensure that your teeth stay plaque-free overnight.

WELL You learn something new every day.


March 30, 2022

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