Dentists warn against brushing teeth after every meal

Dentists in Britain say children should not brush their teeth after every meal, they say it may be doing their teeth more harm than good.

A study of dentists and parents of school-age children, by toothpaste company Sensodyne, found that 53 per cent of five-year-olds had tooth erosion.

Experts are suggesting that acid in food and drink can make tooth enamel soft and using a toothbrush straight after eating can scratch the surface of the teeth and wear them down.

Professor Jimmy Steele of the School of Dental Sciences at the University of Newcastle, analysed the study, and he says children should avoid brushing immediately after consuming acidic food or drinks as this is when the enamel is at its softest.

He says adult teeth generally start to appear when children are six years-old and need to last a lifetime, so protection from an early age is vital; he says children should be encouraged to drink acid drinks with a straw placed towards the back of the mouth away from teeth.

While the main cause of acid erosion is drinks, fizzy ones are not the only culprits as those containing fruit are also high in acid.

According to the research even eating an orange and sucking out the juice from segments is bad for erosion.

The research found that 93 per cent of parents are not aware of which types of food and drink contain acid and 58 per cent say their children smother food in sauces or dressings, not realising this is a major cause of acid erosion.


  1. Jim Jim United States says:

    What is one supposed to do if one has to eat lunch, and then attend a function?  Carry the toothbrush with him so that he can excuse himself to the restroom and go brush an hour later?  Or do these dentists expect somebody to go out with horrible breath?  GEESH.  "sucking the juice from an orange segment is bad for teeth."  Okay, that's real good.  I think I'll swallow an orange whole.

    • Jonathan Jonathan United Kingdom says:

      I agree with the other poster, people don't stay at home all day with access to a sink, running water, toothpaste and a toothbrush, THEY HAVE LIVES. What If I'm at school, what happens then?

    • Leah Leah United States says:

      As was already said, you're only recommended to brush your teeth at the start and end of the day, not after lunch. Other dentists have actually begun to say that brushing teeth doesn't even really help bad breath besides covering it up, and if that's what you're concerned about as opposed to the health of your teeth, then breath mints are probably a safer bet anyways. Since this is actually telling you NOT to brush your teeth after meals, I'm taking your comments to mean that you actually do already? Honestly, in the middle of the day, flossing and a breath mint will probably do you far more good than brushing your teeth.

    • Adam. Adam. Australia says:

      Just chew gum you poms.

  2. Alicia Alicia United States says:

    I don't see why you find this so appalling. For one, if having "good breath" (which likely means unnaturally minty breath) is more important to you than having teeth when you're sixty, then don't worry about it. For two, (directed mainly at the first poster) most dentists don't recommend brushing at lunch, only in the morning and at night. For three, if you brush after breakfast and not before (which I admit is up for debate), is it such a stretch of the imagination to get up early, eat right away, spend some extra time getting ready/relaxing/starting the afternoon's labor and then brushing your teeth right before you leave?

  3. Grandma shank Grandma shank Sweden says:

    My grandma said to brish your teeth with chopsticks to get the full whitening of your teeth.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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