After throwing up, you should wait at least 30 minutes before brushing teeth because brushing immediately can cause enamel erosion by rubbing acid into it. Therefore, it is unsafe to brush right after but it is safer to wait. We'll give you tips on the best way to handle this precarious situation.
Table of contents:
Brushing immediately after throwing up causes enamel erosion
It's unsafe to brush immediately after throwing up because it can cause enamel erosion
Residual stomach acid in the mouth after vomiting will be coating the surfaces of your teeth. Yes, stomach acid has a pH of 1.5-2.0 which is extremely acidic. For comparison, acid rain which can damage cars only has a 4.0 pH which is less acidic than gastric acids.
Brushing stomach acid into your enamel will accelerate the acid erosion process since it is so acidic and potent. For reference, tooth decay only requires a pH below 5.5 for cavities to start forming. Since stomach acid is more acidic than that, it will dissolve your enamel if you brush right after vomiting.
Conclusion: Throwing up leaves residual stomach acid on your teeth which is acidic enough to erode enamel. Brushing the acid into the teeth will damage the enamel and is unsafe.
Waiting 30 mins after throwing up to brush is safer
After any acidic challenge in the mouth including throwing up, the general recommendation is to wait at least 30 mins before brushing teeth.
According to Columbia University, you should also wait at least 30 minutes after eating before you brush your teeth. The reasoning is the same as vomiting in that after a meal, the pH in the mouth drops into the acidic zone. If you brush too soon after a meal, you will be rubbing the acid directly into the enamel which can cause erosion.
Typically after 30 minutes have passed, the mouth will buffer the acid and normal the mouth pH back to neutral. That is how long it takes for your mouth to neutralize the acid. Consequently that is also the time it takes for you to brush safely.
Best way to brush after throwing up
The best way to prevent enamel damage from brushing after vomiting is by using: baking soda rinse, waiting the appropriate time, brushing with remineralizing toothpaste, and don't rinse afterwards.
How to prevent enamel erosion with brushing after throwing up:
Doing the above four steps will minimize the enamel erosion and maximize the enamel repair after throwing up. This is the safest way to brush your teeth after vomiting.
Those are all of the tips on how to safely brush your teeth after throwing up by our dentists in Long Island City. If you have further questions, you should book a consultation with us.