It is common practice for most people to brush their teeth in the morning and before bedtime. This time-honoured routine has been passed from parent to child successfully for many generations. However, not many of us give our teeth the same amount of attention after lunch. Why might this be, and what are some potential benefits to adding a third brush into your day?
Of the three meals, lunch is the most likely to take place somewhere far from the comfort of your own toothbrush. Therefore, for many people, there is simply not enough time available to rush off to the bathroom for a thorough scrub. Part of the reason why we are so adamant about brushing in the morning and at night is because that action has become so well incorporated into our daily lives. If you’re working a job that doesn’t allow for a consistent lunch hour everyday, it can be hard to follow a well established brushing regime, making it that much more difficult to stick to daily brushing. That being said, are the benefits to brushing after lunch enticing enough to warrant this change of ritual?
If your midday meal consisted of foods high in refined carbohydrates and sugars, there will be a large increase in the number of bacteria inhabiting your oral cavity come mid-afternoon. Simple sugars and carbs are favourites of your local resident bacteria, and they will leap at any and all available sources. In this case, brushing after lunch can indeed make a positive impact by reducing the amount of free meals you’re offering your little hitchhikers, and therefore keeping their numbers under control.
On the other hand, if your lunch included something highly acidic, such as orange juice, it may be best to hold off on brushing. Acidic foods and beverages can cause your enamel to weaken temporarily, and brushing before your body can repair it may cause further damage to it in its already weakened state. Try instead to give your mouth a good rinse with water, or munching down on something that isn’t acidic after you’ve enjoyed your fruit juice to help wash away any remaining traces of the acid.
So what’s the verdict? Whether or not you should brush your teeth after lunch depends somewhat on what you had to eat, but mostly comes down to personal preference and the amount of time you have available. Either way, you’ll be able to reap all the benefits of a lunchtime scrub as long as you’re consistent with morning and evening brushes. For best results, use a fluoride-enriched toothpaste and follow up brushing with a thorough flossing and a quick swish of mouthwash! Centennial Smiles Dental is always happy to address any concerns you may have. Reach us at (587) 317-7959 today!