Crystal Lake, IL Dentist
77 E. Crystal Lake Avenue
Crystal Lake, IL 60014

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To Brush or Not to Brush right after a meal......a  study has shown that the practice is not in the best interest of your pearly whites to always brush immediately after a meal.  The problem is that the sugar in foods is metabolized by the bacteria or plaque on enamel, producing acids that lead to gum disease and cavities.

What was found is that much of the things that cause cavities, are not only sugar-containing, but they are very acidic themselves. Even after drinking a diet soda, it can take a while for the mouth to return to a normal pH level. Acid weakens the surface of the tooth, which can invite decay.

So when it comes to brushing your teeth when the mouth is in an acidic state, it actually exacerbates the problem.  But if you give your mouth some time – around a half an hour – your saliva will have worked to neutralize the acids.

There are some things that can be done to help instead of immediate brushing. Both rinsing your mouth with water or using an antibacterial mouthwash can help balance the pH and prevent plaque from creating more acids.  Also chewing sugarless gum is recommended as some studies have shown that the sweetener, xylitol, has benefits for the teeth. But perhaps the more satisfying option? Eat cheese. Oddly enough, chewing cheese reduces the pH of bacterial plaque.  Chewy things encourage salivation and proteins in your saliva will buffer acids; as well, naturally occurring chemicals in cheese encourage the tooth to remineralize.

 

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