After eating food, one of the almost instantaneous actions is to go brush your teeth. However, this fact could be counterproductive for your oral health, find out why.
For proper oral health, brushing teeth after eating is recommended, however, the interval between finishing eating and brushing is not instantaneous.
Find out why you shouldn’t brush your teeth immediately after eating your food. Also, what is the time estimated and recommended by specialists for this action to continue to have a positive impact on your oral health.
Why shouldn’t you brush immediately after eating?
The reason why you should wait a while before brushing your teeth after eating food is related to the natural pH (Hydrogen Potential) of the mouth, which is altered by the food that enters the oral cavity.
The pH level in the mouth in a normal state is almost neutral, ranging between 7 and 6, but with food intake it becomes acidic, that is, it reaches levels below 7 or 6.
Food eaten alters the natural pH of the mouth, making it acidic. Photo: composition LR/Freepik
This change impacts the enamel of the teeth, which, due to the acidity of the environment in the mouth, begins to lose calcium and leaves the teeth weaker. In this situation, brushing as soon as food intake is finished can negatively expose the teeth.
This is how he exposes it John Joseph Riva (COP 48692), dental surgeon. “When we consume any food, what happens in the mouth is that it generally has a base pH of 7.4, so when we eat food, after five or seven minutes, this pH decreases, which causes carbon ions to the teeth are demineralized, they are lost ”, he points out.
The alteration of the pH in the mouth with the ingestion of food was contrasted with the investigation pH of the saliva, before, during and after the ingestion of food, carried out by Jeniffer Moyano Nunez. She concluded that her research population of 68 schoolchildren, “(…) during food intake —100% of the students—, obtained a critically acid salivary pH of 5.5, remaining acid after 10 minutes.
A considerable drop in salivary pH was observed, reaching levels of 5 in 30% of the sample that ingested processed juices; Unlike the other groups, only 5% of those who consumed natural juices had a salivary pH of 3; and 65% of those who consumed carbohydrates obtained a salivary pH of 5.5”. That is, the decrease in pH was tested, turning into acid.
How long should you wait to brush your teeth after eating?
According to the specialist Juan José Dávalos Riva, you must wait 20 to 30 minutes for the mouth to return to the same neutral environment that characterizes it.
“The recommended waiting time is 20 to 30 minutes after eating food, since it is what it takes for saliva to restore the pH in the mouth (buffer capacity),” he points out.
Specialists recommend between 20 to 30 minutes of waiting before brushing teeth. Photo: composition LR/Freepik
This is consistent with the research mentioned above in which “it was found that 20 and 30 minutes after food intake, the salivary pH is restored, generating a neutral pH.”
In this way, waiting for 20 to 30 minutes implies that the minerals dissolved by the acidic pH re-adhere to the enamel of the teeth. This, added to the barrier layer provided by the fluoride in the toothpaste, would prevent exposure to cavities or other dental diseases.