When you wake up in the morning, your mouth is teeming with oral bacteria. Some are good, but many of those bacterial organisms contribute to plaque formation, which is why your breath smells so funky each morning. While you sleep, oral bacteria can multiply because there is nothing to stop them from doing so, not even saliva. But after your morning brush, your mouth is once again clean.
However, throughout the day, and especially after both breakfast and lunch, oral bacteria once again have an extended period of time in which they can multiply. The more bacteria there are in your mouth, the more plaque you'll have on your teeth. This is damaging to your teeth.
Fortunately, you can do several things just after lunch to keep plaque formation at a minimum.
1. Chew on Some Fibrous Fruit and Veggies
As soon as you put food into your mouth, the process of digestion begins. Your saliva breaks down the building blocks of your food before you swallow it. Unfortunately, oral bacteria also start to digest your food the moment you put it in your mouth. As oral bacteria feast on the foods you eat, they multiply, creating a bio-film called plaque that sits on your teeth.
And just as it does overnight, plaque builds up on your teeth throughout the day. But, you can slow down plaque formation by chewing on some tough and fibrous fruit and veg as a snack after lunch. Tough and rough-surfaced fruits and veggies like carrots and apples help to brush plaque off your teeth.
2. Wait 30 Minutes, then Brush Your Teeth
Never brush your teeth immediately after a meal. This is because your tooth enamel will still be soft, and therefore easily damaged by your toothbrush. When you eat, especially acidic foods and drinks, you cause the pH of your saliva to decrease. If your saliva goes below a pH of 5.5, your teeth will soften due to the acidic environment.
As such, wait 30 minutes for your saliva to return to normal. Then brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove the early plaque formation that usually starts after a meal.
3. Keep Some Water Handy Nearby
Water is your best friend when it comes to keeping plaque at bay. Not only does water replenish your saliva reserves, but water also helps to wash some of the harmful bacteria out of your mouth. The fewer bacteria in your mouth, the slower plaque will form on your teeth — always a good thing!
If you have a problem with plaque buildup, talk to a dentist to get it removed. Then, you can start following these tips with a clean slate!