You care about your children’s teeth, which is why you might make regular appointments with a pediatric dentist, encourage them to wear mouth guards during sports, and brush after meals. But is all that extra brushing really necessary? Here is a little more information about how brushing after meals can actually damage your child’s teeth, and what you can do to ward off problems.
Understanding Acid Attacks & Tooth Brushing
How Can Brushing After Meals Harm Your Teeth?
Tooth decay is caused by bacteria present in your child’s mouth. Unfortunately, these bacteria feed off of the simple starches and sugars in your child’s diet, and after your kid eats, these bacteria eat too. As bacteria grows and multiplies, it emits acids that can eat away at dental enamel, causing problems like cavities and tooth infections.
As soon as your child begins eating, the mouth becomes naturally more acidic, with acid levels reaching their peak within five to 20 minutes following a meal. Since these acids soften dental enamel, brushing immediately following meals can whisk away this hard, white, protective covering, putting the teeth at a higher risk for future damage.
What Can You Do to Clean Teeth Without Causing Damage?
Fortunately, research has shown that the mouth returns to its normal “pre-meal” acidity levels after about an hour, which means that simply delaying brushing could help the teeth to stay stronger. Instead of encouraging your child to brush right after meals, take note of the time your child ate, and ask them to brush about an hour after they have eaten. Keep in mind that teeth can be kept healthy by brushing twice daily, and that simply swishing the mouth with water after a meal can also be effective at reducing acidity levels and rinsing away food particles.
Are you worried about how your child’s brushing habits have affected their teeth? Dr. Seo of Dentistry For Kids in Pearl City, HI, is currently accepting new patients and would love the chance to meet your family. In addition to offering comprehensive preventive dental care, this talented dentist can also help your children with issues tied to teeth grinding, sports injuries, and dental emergencies. For more information about their approach to dentistry, explore their website or call (808) 486-8881.