Is brushing teeth after every meal important

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.[1] A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep,[2] and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.

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Are you someone who believes that brushing immediately after every meal is a healthy habit or it will help in teeth whitening? Read on!

A lot of people love to flash their pearly whites at every opportunity, and what’s the harm? But when teeth whitening turns into an obsession, that’s where the problem lies. They want to brush at every opportunity, post every meal or even otherwise. But does that help? Is it healthy or does it make your teeth whiter?

Let’s find out more about this with the help of Dr Reshma Suresh, Reader, Amrita School of Dentistry, Kochi. She says that brushing teeth after every meal doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy. “It definitely keeps your oral cavity free from food debris and fresh. Regular brushing stimulates the gum tissue (gum massage), thereby improving blood circulation and enhances your gingival health,” she adds.

But then what’s the issue?

Dr Suresh says that immediate tooth brushing is not a good idea, because you need to allow sufficient time for the saliva to act and neutralize the acidic coating on the enamel after consumption of food.

“It is better to rinse your mouth after every meal and wait for at least half an hour before brushing your teeth,” she adds.

Some people who are obsessed with tooth cleansing suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, which will always result in detrimental effects on the teeth like gingival recession and tooth wear.

teeth whitening
Brush your teeth, clean your tongue, and keep your oral health happy! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“Brushing doesn’t have a tooth whitening effect other than keeping the tooth surface free of debris. Colour of the teeth always depends on the thickness of the enamel and underlying dentine and has no relationship with frequency of brushing,” concludes Dr Suresh.

Also read: Can’t forgo caffeinated drinks, but still need shining white teeth? Do this!

Here’s how you can prevent enamel erosion

  • Maintaining a time difference between eating and tooth brushing can help in preventing enamel erosion.
  • Take care of your diet. Do not brush after having acidic foods and beverages, which may weaken the surface of your teeth.
  • Avoid frequent snacking.
  • Learn the correct ways of brushing from your dentist.
  • Remember to replace your toothbrush every two-three months.
  • Regularly visit your dentist for check-ups.
  • Stay as hydrated as you can.

Remember that anything done in excess is never a good idea. So, make sure you brush your teeth the right way and not obsessively. Keeping your teeth clean is important, but obsessing about them will take you nowhere!

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