When You Shouldn’t Brush or Floss Your Teeth

rendering of a clock and a toothbrush with a circle and cross through it to symbolize when to not brush your teeth

We all know we should brush and floss our teeth every day for good oral health, but did you know there is one time you shouldn’t? Some patients have told us they often brush and/or floss right after eating. Although we’re delighted to hear they take their oral health seriously, they’re surprised when we tell them it’s best not to do that because it could actually harm their teeth! Keep reading to discover why that is and the best times to brush and floss.


When Shouldn’t I Brush or Floss My Teeth? 

It’s best not to brush or floss right after eating or drinking anything acidic, such as tomatoes, strawberries, coffee, orange juice, and soda. That’s because teeth are covered in a protective hard surface called enamel, and acid makes them temporarily softer and at greater risk of damage if you tend to them with a brush or dental floss right after eating. Also, any enamel you lose will never return, so you should wait at least 30 minutes before brushing and flossing to allow your enamel to remineralize. There are, however, other ways to help remineralize your teeth, such as consuming calcium and proteins and using fluoride toothpaste.


Are There Any Exceptions to the 30-Minute Rule? 

We highly recommend always waiting at least 30 minutes after eating or drinking anything acidic before brushing or flossing, unless you’ve only consumed non-acidic foods or beverages.

Another exception is if a noticeable piece of food gets stuck in your teeth after eating, in which case it’s fine to remove it with floss. Just don’t floss all your teeth; you should still wait at least 30 minutes to do that.


What Should I Do While Waiting 30 Minutes to Brush or Floss?

Even though you should wait 30 minutes, there is an important thing you can do for your teeth during this time. We always recommend that you rinse and wash your mouth vigorously with water when you have finished consuming the acidic food or drink. Not only will this help remove the excessive acid from sitting on your teeth while you wait 30 minutes, but it will remove small food particles as well.


Should I Brush My Teeth Right After Vomiting? 

An unpleasant topic for sure, but like food, vomit is acidic from the acids in your stomach that aid digestion, and it affects your teeth’s enamel similarly. However, we believe it’s OK to brush your teeth right away if your illness is an isolated incident, as we understand the unpleasant aftertaste it leaves.



If you’re proactive about brushing your teeth, there aren’t many wrong times to do it, but it’s important to know it’s strongly recommended not to brush immediately after consuming anything acidic. Repeated brushing right after eating can do more harm than good in the long run, so it’s better to wait 30 minutes before reaching for your toothbrush.