Toothbrushing is the backbone of good oral health, but there are several other factors to consider for optimal hygiene. Among these, are brush selection, toothpaste and flossing. Avoiding certain food groups before brushing may be among the most overlooked factors. Eating acidic foods, however, could alter the tooth structure and compromise oral hygiene over time.
Columbia University warned last year that brushing teeth immediately after consuming an acidic food or drink could damage the enamel layer of the tooth.
“Waiting about 30 minutes before brushing allows tooth enamel to remineralise and build itself back up,” explained the researchers.
Ezzard Rolle, DDS, assistant professor of dental medicine at Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, highlighted which drinks to avoid before brushing your teeth.
“We definitely recommend holding off on brushing after consuming anything acidic, whether it’s fruit, soda, juice or sour candy,” he explained.
“The reason for that is that when acids are in the mouth, they weaken the enamel of the tooth, which is the outer layer of the tooth.”
The expert recommends rinsing the mouth with drinking water after consuming an acidic product, as this promotes the remineralisation process of the enamel.
When the bristles of a toothbrush wear out the enamel, the teeth become more susceptible to cavities and decay.
Though are manageable, they are often left to grow and fester, which can cause more infections further down the line.
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Worn enamel may also impact a person’s smile, as the teeth are prone to turning grey or yellow.
Sometimes, teeth also change shape by becoming more rounded or forming ridges.
Equally, a lack of enamel may cause the gaps between teeth to grow in size.
Unfortunately, once tooth enamel has become completely damaged it cannot be restored.
If it is simply weakened, however, it can be brought back using toothpaste and mouthwashes that boost the remineralisation process.
What’s more, there are easy steps to help prevent enamel degradation.
The NHS warns: “Don’t rinse your mouth immediately after brushing, as it’ll wash away the concentrated fluoride in the remaining toothpaste.
“Rinsing dilutes and reduces its preventative effects.”
The health body explains that fluorides help oral health by strengthening the tooth enamel and making it more resistant to decay.
It is worth mentioning that although fluoride in toothpaste has anti-caries effects, it may cause adverse effects if ingested in large amounts.
The journal Science of The Total Environment noted in 2022 that “excess amounts of fluoride ions in drinking water can cause […] arthritis, bone damage, osteoporosis, muscular damage, fatigue, joint-related problems and chronicle issues”.
Over the years, however, the scientific community has concluded that fluoride in toothpaste causes no major side effects on general health.
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