Eating out at a Restaurant
Tradition tells us to brush after every meal. When do you suggest brushing should be done — before or after eating?
The equation for caries/holes in your teeth eventually requiring a filling, is “plaque bacteria plus a fermentable carbohydrate equals acid.”
What people do not realise, due to the slightly off kilter marketing of toothbrushes and toothpaste, is that people brush to remove food particles, but as a professional dentist, I see the aim of brushing as to prevent and remove the build up of plaque.
Toothpaste research focuses on enamel abrasion, and toothbrush research looks at plaque removal, yet this is marketed for the layman as food particle removing, hence the whole brushing after eating thing. Personally I do not recall really any research on the best way to remove food particles, however in my opinion irrigating the mouth/rinsing very well would probably be the most affective way. Then use your toothpaste for enamel protection, and floss thoroughly to eliminate plaque.
Most people do not know that plaque already present, combined with a fermenting carbohydrate equals more plaque. So technically flossing and brushing before eating makes much more sense for prevention, rather than brushing after eating, when the acid producing chemical reaction has already taken place
Basically brushing after the acid has been produced, is no longer a preventative measure. Making brushing after eating rather useless. Prevention would occur before acid production is enabled.
Plaque bacteria produce acid right away. According to research published by Dr. John Featherstone of UCSF, acid production occurs within only seconds of bacteria’s exposure to sucrose, and salivary pH drops from a neutral of 7 to acidic 4.5 within around five minutes. It takes a further 30 minutes to return to 7 – so waiting until your meal is over to brush your teeth allows bacteria ample time to produce acid.