Nobody likes going to the dentist unprepared. Depending on your oral health, it can be a breeze or a nightmare. If you’ve ever had your gums bleed during a regular dental cleaning, then it might be a sign that you need to up your daily routine. Of course, when we do choose to find ways to better our oral health, there’s always the possibility of getting too into it. We might find ourselves wondering is it good to use mouthwash after eating, or if you need to brush the whole way through. The problem is this: to keep your teeth and gums healthy, what should you do after eating?
What you eat and your oral health share an interesting relationship. When you eat, you usually leave behind food particles and sugars that get into your teeth and gums. And left alone, they’re what give oral bacteria fuel to wear down your tooth enamel and spread gum disease. At the same time, food gives you and your teeth the needed minerals to defend against the bacteria. Your daily routine for your oral health is what keeps those defense-building minerals without allowing bacteria to attack your teeth and gum line.
Of course, creating that daily routine does involve knowing is it good to use mouthwash after eating or if you need a more thorough brushing. If you’re wondering what you should do after eating, here are a few points to consider:
A case of brushing your teeth versus rinsing your mouth after eating
Since we were kids, we’ve often been told to brush our teeth immediately after eating. Some kindergarten classrooms, as a matter of fact, might even have faucets that help encourage that oral health habit.
It’s not hard to see why. Most of the food particles are leftover right after you eat. And it’s these particles that form the icky film that’ll eat into your teeth if left for too long. Brushing your teeth right after seems like a sure way to remove plaque.
Others, however, might think otherwise. While brushing your teeth after you eat might take out all the sugars bacteria need to attack the tooth enamel, it might not be necessary. Your saliva usually does that work for you. It’s generally after meals when you’ve generated the most saliva, making it more potent when it comes to washing away leftover food particles. As for the rest, some therapeutic mouthwash should suffice.
How soon is too soon?
As it turns out, you might not need to brush your teeth all the time, after all. And doing so might harm than help your teeth and gums.
Right after you eat, the acids from your meal are usually still lingering around, messing with the pH of your mouth. Getting the right pH is crucial to protecting your tooth enamel and keeping the balance in your oral microbiome. When you brush too soon, you risk spreading the leftover acids, which can deal damage to your teeth and gums.
What should you do after eating, then? As it turns out, nothing—for at least 30 minutes. During this time, your saliva does its magic and brings balance back to your mouth. Regardless, if you’ve been wondering if it’s good to use mouthwash after you eat, the answer is yes—particularly right after the meal. After those 30 minutes, you’re free to brush your teeth.