London: Brushing your teeth within half an hour of having a meal or drinking a cup of coffee could seriously damage them, dentists have warned. After drinking fizzy or acidic drinks, the acid burns into the enamel of your teeth - and the layer below the enamel, called 'dentin'.

Brushing at the 'wrong' time - particularly within 20 minutes of finishing a meal - can drive the acid deeper into your teeth, corroding them far faster than they would have rotted by themselves.

"With brushing, you could actually push the acid deeper into the enamel and the dentin", Dr Howard R. Gamble, president of the Academy of General Dentistry was quoted as saying.

Study has shown that teeth corrode faster if they are brushed in the half hour after consumption of an acidic soft drink, which 'stripped' them, thereby demineralising them.

Volunteers wore human dentin samples in their mouths, and tested different brushing regimens.
Brushing in the 20 minutes after a soft drink damaged teeth noticeably. For those who have just eaten a spicy meal, waiting an hour seems to be enough to avoid the negative effects.

"However, after intra-oral periods of 30 and 60 minutes, wear was not significantly higher than in unbrushed controls", the researchers said.

"It is concluded that for protection of dentin surfaces at least 30 minutes should elapse before toothbrushing after an erosive attack," they added.


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