Is rinsing with water or a mouthwash after every meal equal to tooth brushing? Well, the answer is No! It goes without saying that not brushing your teeth regularly is harmful, and can also cause tooth decay, gum diseases, and several other dental problems. But, is tooth brushing after every meal necessary or helpful? According to dentists, brushing your teeth twice a day is important to avoid left-over food particles, bacterial growth, plaque, the risk of several oral diseases, bad breath, etc. However, if you brush immediately after every meal, your chances of enamel (outermost layer of the tooth) damage might increase.
What happens when you brush your teeth immediately after every meal?
-After consuming an acidic drink, a cup of coffee, or foods containing sugar, the pH of your mouth fluctuates, in turn, making your teeth more susceptible to damage.
-Plus if you brush your teeth within 30 minutes of eating, you could actually push this acid deeper into the enamel or dentin, therefore contributing to increased enamel corrosion and chances of dentin exposure.
-In a particular study, researchers examined the effect of toothbrushing after consumption of diet soda. The results showed higher dentin loss when the patients brushed within 20 minutes after drinking soda compared to those who brushed their teeth afterwards.
So, is rinsing/swishing your mouth, a better option than tooth brushing?
-According to the American Dental Association, brushing your teeth after every meal is not necessary. However, rinsing your mouth with plain water after meals can also help removing the acids and sugars on your teeth, and stopping the acid attacks that lead to cavities.
-If you’re not eating anything too sticky, and you don’t have pieces of food stuck between your teeth, just rinsing your mouth with water and not brushing after your meal should be enough.Therefore, in a nutshell, rinsing your mouth cannot be replaced with tooth brushing.
-Rinsing/swishing can be done after meals to remove all the food debris and prevent bacteria to produce acid and harm your teeth, whereas, brushing your teeth twice daily (once in the morning and second before bedtime) should be an integral part of your day as it not only removes the left-over food particles and plaque but also plays a major role in protecting your oral cavity from bacterial and fungal disease.