Never Brush Your Teeth After Drinking These 4 Things, Dentists Say


Brushing your teeth and flossing twice a day might seem like a simply task, but it's easy to make mistakes while following through on your oral hygiene. In addition to the common missteps that could arise, like forgetting to brush your tongue, brushing your teeth too hard, or never changing your toothbrush, there's one major thing that could be detrimental to your enamel, the outermost covering of your teeth. If you're brushing after drinking these four beverages, you could be doing some serious damage. Read on to find out when you need to keep the toothbrush away, and for more advice on when not to brush, This Is the Absolute Worst Time to Brush Your Teeth, Dentists Say.

Don't brush your teeth after drinking coffee, orange juice, soda, or water with citrus.
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Make sure you're not brushing your teeth after drinking coffee, orange juice, soda, or water with citrus. All four of these beverages are especially acidic and can harm your tooth enamel. If you brush your teeth within an hour of consuming one of these beverages, your could cause erosion of the enamel, Madison Kaplan, a registered dental hygienist in California, told CNET. "Even though enamel is one of the hardest structures of your body, most similar to the calcium content in our bones, the physical action of brushing can weaken the tooth structure," Kaplan explained. "The bristles rub the acid into the porous enamel of the teeth, which can cause permanent damage over time." And for more mistakes to avoid, check out these 25 Things You're Doing That Would Horrify Your Dentist.

Damaging your enamel can cause serious consequences for your teeth.

Brushing immediately after drinking acidic beverages will damage your enamel—and your teeth need that. According to Colgate, "Enamel protects the inner, more fragile areas of your teeth, known as dentin and pulp. It is the first and most important line of defense against tooth decay. If your enamel is damaged, you could develop cavities, temperature sensitivity, and even tooth infection." And for more dangers to steer clear of, This Is What Happens If You Don't Brush Your Teeth for a Day, Study Shows.

You should wait at least 60 minutes before brushing.

If you've consumed acidic drinks or foods, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends waiting at least 60 minutes before brushing your teeth. Acid erosion can occur if you brush your teeth when your mouth is in an acidic state, according to a 2018 study published in the Journal of Physics Conference Series. In 2004, a notable study published in the National Library of Medicine found that teeth can be better protected if people avoid brushing until 30 to 60 minutes after an "erosive attack." And for more useful content delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

If you don't have time to wait, swish water around your mouth.
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If you've just ingested something acidic and you don't have approximately 60 minutes to wait before brushing, the ADA suggests drinking water or chewing sugarless gum. According to the ADA, it's best to choose a gum with the ADA Seal of Acceptance—which confirms the product meets the ADA criteria and efficacy standards.

"The more you can flush out food and bacteria, the more optimal oral health you will achieve," Kaplan told CNET. Kaplan advises anyone with no time to brush to swish with water. Drinking soda, juice, a sports drink, or any acidic beverage can leave sugar remnants on your teeth, but water can help get rid of the unwanted residue, the ADA advises. Water minimizes any cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth and dilutes the acid.

"You'll still need to brush twice a day for two minutes and clean between your teeth, but drinking water through the day will go a long way toward keeping your smile cavity-free," the ADA says. And for more ways to keep your mouth happy, discover The "Healthy" Drink That Could Be Ruining Your Teeth, Dentists Say.