From an early age we are taught to brush our teeth after every meal, that is, three times a day after breakfast, lunch and dinner. But in reality, this hygiene action would not be the right one for our teeth, as dentists say.
According to the annual study on Oral Habits in children carried out by Vitaldent 10.9% of children do not brush every day and only 60.6% do so before going to bed.
Also, among adults, the frequency of brushing is even lower. According to the population survey on oral health, 12% of Spaniards over 14 do not brush their teeth every day, and 2.3% never do.
“When you eat or drink something acidic, the pH of your mouth decreases and it takes some time to return to normal,” Jeffrey Cole, president of the American Academy of Dentists, told the Wall Street Journal. The ideal pH of our mouth is around 7, while a soft drink (even a light one) can be up to 2.5, “similar to vinegar”.
It is worth mentioning that acid demineralizes and weakens the surface of the tooth, making us more prone to tooth decay. According to a study published in 2004 in the magazine General Dentistry, if we brush our teeth just after eating, the process intensifies, as we spread the acid throughout the mouth and push it against the teeth.
Therefore, the proper way to brush your teeth would be up to half an hour (30 minutes) after eating because the saliva in our mouth will lower the level of acidity without rubbing these substances against our teeth. Just as you read it, and is that doing it immediately after eating is one of the most widespread errors that many people make.
Other Recommendations About Tooth Brushing
- After meals it is best to rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash, which will make the pH levels are within normal, preventing the plaque from acidifying.
- Brush your teeth from top to bottom, not from the left-right so as not to carry the waste under the gum and avoid tartar and gingivitis. Also don’t forget to clean your teeth from the front and back.
- Chew gum (no sugar is better) or cheese. This can help produce saliva, the best natural mechanism we have to reduce acid levels in teeth.
Cheese reduces the pH of bacterial plaque and has elements that help teeth remineralize.
- Don’t use too much toothpaste, as it fills our mouth with foam, causing a feeling of cleanliness that doesn’t have to be real.
- Never forget to brush your teeth before going to bed. This is basic to maintain proper oral hygiene. At night we salivate less and the cariogenic substances are wide open for our teeth, which is why it is imperative that we eliminate them completely before going to sleep.