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It is important to brush and floss your teeth everyday (brushing, of course, happens twice a day). Usually this is done morning and night. However, many people want to clean their mouths directly after eating to maintain a clean smile and fresh breath.

Unfortunately, brushing right after eating can damage your smile. The acids in the food or drink soften the enamel and make it very sensitive to abrasion, such as that from brushing teeth. Because of this, brushing right after eating can actually do much more harm than good.

But how can we clean our smile right after eating? The best way to do this is to drink a large glass of water, then chew sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating. Chewing sugarless gum stimulates the salivary glands to produce more saliva. Saliva is your body’s first natural defense against cavities. It washes food particles away from teeth and neutralizes the acids present, preparing your teeth for brushing.

Of course, chewing sugary gum also stimulates saliva production. However, the sugars present in the gum get washed around the mouth, feeding the bacteria that live in your mouth. They in turn create an acidic byproduct which erodes your enamel. Thus, chewing sugar-sweetened gum can actually make cavity formation worse rather than fight it. Stick with sugar-free gum for a healthy smile!

For more information, call Char Dental in Honolulu, Hawaii, at (808) 450-2155. Drs. Char and Mashimo and our team look forward to making your smile shine!