Rinse Your Mouth After Meals
There Is One More Thing Besides Brushing
If there’s one subject on which I’ve been given a lot of conflicting advice in my life, it’s dental health. The trouble is, the advised action often turns out to be the opposite of what is good for the teeth.
Well here’s a piece of advice that will definitely do you nothing but good: rinse your mouth with water after every meal. Water is our body’s friend in so many ways. It’s largely what we’re made of and it’s absolutely the best thing we can ever drink.
To understand why we should rinse after meals, I need to say a little about tooth decay. It’s caused by acids in the mouth. These can come directly from acidic food, such as fruit, and from carbonated drinks. They can result from the activity of bacteria in the mouth, feeding on sugar. Candy is often to blame for that, but pieces of starchy food stuck between the teeth will also break down to release sugar after a while.
After a meal, if you can immediately get rid of the acidity, as well as flushing most of the remaining food from your mouth, there will be no instant acid attack on your teeth and you will leave the acid-forming bacteria with less to eat.
This brings me to one of the bad pieces of advice I’ve received during my lifetime, which was to brush my teeth after every meal. That’s a bad idea because the enamel coating the teeth is at its softest immediately after an acidic meal or drink. By brushing at that time you risk removing some of that enamel before it has a chance to harden again, and your teeth will have lost some of their best defence against decay.
Tooth brushing – and toothpaste – is a big subject that I won’t really go into now, but experts now advise that if you want to brush your teeth several times a day it would be better to do it before meals rather than after. That way, you won’t be damaging softened enamel but you may be removing some of the bacteria that are about to start feeding on your meal.
I’ll say one thing more about tooth brushing. When I was young I believed that the more times you brushed, and the longer you brushed, the more your teeth would benefit. Later in life my dentist told me I had done a lot of damage by brushing too much. So let’s keep it to twice a day, morning and night, and rely on good old water to keep things healthy for the rest of the day.
There are many different mouthwashes on the market, but they have their dangers too. I’ve seen pictures of the rotting teeth of people who used mouthwash too much. I’ve had to have my own teeth scrubbed clean by a dentist after mouthwash stained them. Just rinse with water after every meal and your teeth will be very happy.