Brushing your teeth is always good for your dental health… right? Wrong! Although your toothbrush is a useful tool in the fight against tooth decay, it is possible to brush too much. Here are three situations in which you should avoid brushing your teeth, as it could make them weaker rather than stronger.
1. Right After Eating or Drinking
Many people brush their teeth after meals, but right after eating is actually one of the worst times to brush, particularly if you enjoy eating acidic foods like tomatoes or citrus fruits. Natural acids in fruit, juice and wine, as well as acids that are added to carbonated drinks, can soften tooth enamel. Brushing your teeth while they are soft and vulnerable can wear away the enamel, leaving teeth vulnerable to decay.
Rather than reaching for your toothbrush as soon as you finish eating, wait for at least 30 minutes for saliva in your mouth to neutralize the acids. While you wait, you can rinse your mouth with water to wash away acids, or chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production.
2. After Vomiting
Vomiting leaves a horrible taste in the mouth, which many people combat by brushing their teeth. However, brushing your teeth while they are still bathed in stomach acid can damage the enamel. Instead, rinse your mouth with a mixture of baking soda and water to neutralize the acid and reduce the bad taste. Mouth rinses that contain 0.05 percent fluoride can also help to protect your tooth enamel after vomiting.
If you have a condition that makes you vomit a lot, such as bulimia or pregnancy, you could begin to experience serious enamel erosion. Let your dentist know about your condition so that he or she can recommend a treatment plan to protect your teeth. This might involve wearing a device to cover your teeth and protect them from stomach acids during vomiting. Dentists can also repair teeth that have been damaged by enamel erosion.
3. More Than Three Times a Day
Dentists recommend brushing your teeth two or three times a day to remove plaque and protect teeth from cavities and decay. If you brush more than three times a day, you might be overdoing it. Brushing too much can wear down tooth enamel and damage gums, particularly if you apply a lot of force. Limit your brushing to a maximum of three times daily and use a gentle up-and-down motion to keep your teeth beautifully clean.
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