We know this time of year ushers in more candy and more bacteria-feeding sugar than many of us normally allow in our diet. If you’ve been trained to brush immediately after every treat like Halloween candy, listen up! Brushing too soon after a highly acidic or sugary meal can actually cause additional damage to teeth, the enamel of which is softened immediately following contact with “bad” food. We recommend waiting 20 to 40 minutes before using that toothbrush.
When sugars or starches in your mouth come in contact with plaque, the acids that result can attack teeth for 20 minutes or more after you finish eating. Repeated attacks can break down the hard enamel on the surface of teeth, leading to tooth decay. Plaque also produces toxins that attack the gums and bone supporting the teeth.
Instead, look to food and drink that stimulate saliva production, as saliva naturally cleanses teeth without causing damage. Sugar-free gum or water are excellent choices!