Brushing your teeth right after a meal can do more harm than good. Dr. Hanna Kinsella of Kiln Lane Dental in the UK is convinced of this. Protecting your mouth from plaque and bacteria on a daily basis is wise because plaque buildup contributes to gum disease and tooth decay. But doing it right after a meal every day is not necessary.
“Many people brush their teeth right after a meal to get rid of food residue on their teeth quickly. But that can do more harm than good. When using a mechanical toothbrush, many people squeeze it tightly in their fist. And this can damage delicate tooth enamel, the substance that covers each tooth and creates a strong protective layer. Too much pressure is dangerous because it can slowly erode tooth enamel, which doesn’t repair itself,” Dr. Kinsella explained.
There are also foods that contain citric acid. They can soften tooth enamel for a while, and brushing at that point will damage the enamel. According to Dr. Kinsella, it’s best to wait half an hour after eating before brushing your teeth, especially after eating acidic foods. She suggested holding the toothbrush by the tip like you hold a pen when brushing to prevent excessive pressure on your teeth and gums. By holding the brush this way, you won’t apply too much pressure. Dr. Kinsella said there’s no difference between a regular toothbrush and an electric toothbrush.
Previously, researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles and Tokyo Medical and Dental University found a correlation between tooth loss in older adults and the ability to cope with everyday tasks such as cooking, making phone calls or going shopping.