Your mouth typically has a pH balance of neutral. This means it is not very acidic at all. However, when you eat certain foods, the pH balance changes. This includes foods that are acidic, but it also includes foods high in sugar. That is because when you eat sugary foods, the bacteria in your mouth can use some of that sugar as nourishment. In converting sugar to energy, these bacteria release acid that eats away at your teeth. It is what causes cavities. You may, then, be tempted to brush your teeth right after you eat anything with a lot of sugar in it. However, because the pH balance is more on the acidic side right after you eat, you need to wait.
Why You Should Wait 30 Minutes to Brush
When the pH balance of your mouth is too acidic, that acid can actually soften the enamel of your teeth. Even if it is not being directly eaten away by bacteria, this softened enamel does not protect the dentin, which is the inner part of the tooth, as well as it should when it is soft. This means you can easily damage the dentin if you brush, especially if you do not use a soft-bristled toothbrush or tend to brush aggressively.
Fortunately, the pH balance tends to move back towards a seven, which is the neutral middle of the scale, in about 30 minutes. By waiting for a half-hour, you can brush without worrying about causing any damage to your teeth. If you have just consumed food or drink that is highly acidic, such as many fruit juices, sugar, coffee, soda, and even some berries, you may need to wait an hour.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Teeth?
One thing you can do after you eat is rinse your mouth out with plain water. This will help the saliva in your mouth remove bacteria and food debris. You can also make sure you see us every six months so we can find and deal with any cavities you do have before they get worse.