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You Shouldn't Brush Your Teeth Right After Eating

Men's Health logo Men's Health 7/27/2021 Taylyn Washington-Harmon
a hand holding a toothbrush: A dentist on TikTok explains when you should brush your teeth after eating to protect your tooth enamel. © Sally Anscombe - Getty Images A dentist on TikTok explains when you should brush your teeth after eating to protect your tooth enamel.

Did you know you shouldn't brush your teeth immediately after eating?

Chicago-based dentist Suhail Mohiuddin, better known as @dr.m_ on TikTok, reveals the science of just how acidic your mouth is after eating, and how long you should wait before brushing your teeth.

Your tooth enamel is the hard outer coating covering your teeth, protecting them from decay and erosion. "When your mouth is in an acidic state, brushing can remove enamel," Mohiuddin says in the TikTok video, using pH strips to test how acidic his mouth is after a cup of coffee.

After testing his mouth, five, ten, 15, and 20 minutes after drinking, the dentist's mouth is finally alkaline after 30 minutes, which is the right time to brush your teeth after eating.

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According to Mayo Clinic, acids from eating and drinking weaken the tooth enamel, and can be further damaged by brushing too soon. For these same reasons, you also shouldn't brush your teeth right after throwing up, Mohiuddin writes in the comments, which can lead to severe dental erosion according to a study in BioPsychoSocial Medicine.


Gallery: Never Do This Right After Brushing Your Teeth, Dentist Says (Best Life)

So when exactly should you brush your teeth?

According to Mohiuddin, it's best to brush your teeth before eating and before bed, he says in another TikTok, rinsing with a non-alcoholic mouthwash right after—ideally one with fluoride.

Another way to protect your tooth enamel, "spit and leave a tiny excess [amount] of toothpaste on your teeth," he writes in another caption.

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