Don't Brush Your Teeth After Eating These 3 Things, Dentist Warns
Wait 15 to 20 minutes after eating and drinking these things to avoid damaging your enamel.
Conventional wisdom tells us that if you eat something that's harsh on your teeth, you should brush them immediately to avoid further damage. Yet experts say that in some cases the opposite is true: When you eat foods that compromise your tooth enamel, you should hold off on brushing.
Derek Chung, DMD, a Toronto-based dentist and the founder of Paste Dental, shared in a recent TikTok video that three foods and drinks in particular require a 15- to 20-minute wait period before you brush. Read on to learn when you shouldn't immediately brush your teeth, according to the dental expert.
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In his recent TikTok post, Chung says there's one question he gets asked every day as a dentist. Patients regularly want to know whether they should brush their teeth before or after having breakfast. "It's the age-old debate," he says—and his answer may surprise you.
"To be honest, it's OK to brush your teeth before, but do not brush your teeth directly after having breakfast. The enamel is more thin, your mouth is more acidic, and you will literally brush away the enamel," he warns.
Instead, Chung says you should hold off for 15 to 20 minutes after eating, and then brush. While you wait, you can drink some water or rinse with mouthwash.
Another time that you shouldn't brush your teeth immediately is after having a glass of white wine, Chung says. Besides the sour taste it would leave in your mouth, the dentist warns that the acidity of the beverage can damage your enamel under the harsh scrub of a toothbrush.
"People don't believe this but white wine can be just as bad for your teeth as red wine," he notes in the video. "So if you have a glass of white wine, do not brush your teeth right after because of the acidity. Again, your enamel is softer, so you're going to brush away your enamel."
Fermented foods can also leave your teeth vulnerable to damage, Chung says. In particular, he advises against brushing immediately after eating kimchi—one of his own favorite foods.
"Kimchi is very acidic—it's basically like an Asian pickle," he explains. "If you've had a lot of kimchi… the enamel is softer. Do not brush your teeth right after or you're going to brush away your enamel."
Look out for these other foods, too.
Though the dentist called out these three foods in particular, he also noted that there's a "pattern" that will help you determine whether or not to brush immediately. Any time you eat something that's notably acidic, you should pause before brushing, he says.
In a separate TikTok post on the subject, Chung shared a longer list of instances in which you shouldn't brush your teeth immediately due to acidity. Pickled vegetables, coffee, citrus fruits, and carbonated beverages all require a 15- to 20-minute wait time before brushing, the dentist says.
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