London dentist goes viral for revealing the 3 surprising times you should not brush your teeth

A dentist has gone viral on TikTok after sharing the circumstances in which you should skip brushing your teeth — at least for awhile.

Dr. Shaadi Manouchehri, clinical director at Smart Dental Aesthetics and director at the London School of Facial Esthetics in England, sparked online conversations after she shocked viewers by saying you should not scrub your pearly whites at those times when reaching for a toothbrush and toothpaste is likely the first thing you’d do.

In the video, which currently has more than 12 million views, Manouchehri said that for one, you should not brush your teeth after vomiting — which quickly ignited questions in the comments section.

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“I literally have to brush my teeth after throwing up,” one TikTok user argued.

“My mom always made me brush my teeth after vomiting,” another person said.

Dr. Shaadi Manouchehri of London has gone viral on TikTok for educating people on dental health; she recently shared the three times people should not brush their teeth, igniting plenty of conversation and questions. (Dr. Shaadi Manouchehri/@drshaadimanouchehri)

“Learned the first one in pregnancy!” a woman wrote. “Mouthwash was my best friend that first trimester.”

Manouchehri said that, in addition to holding off after vomiting, people should not brush their teeth after eating breakfast or sweets.

“Ah, yes, the three times I want to brush my teeth more than any other time,” a TikTok user commented.

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There is one factor that links the three circumstances together, said Manouchehri: pH levels, or acidity in the mouth. 

“Your teeth are minerals and an acid could quite literally dissolve them,” Manouchehri told Fox News Digital in an interview. 

“Obviously, the stomach contents are very acidic. So, if you brush your teeth straightaway, you’re basically rubbing the acid onto your teeth.”

“When we eat anything, be it breakfast, lunch, snack, sweet things in particular, the bacteria on your teeth metabolize this and turn it into an acid so that you can brush straightaway.”

She added, “[It’s] the exact same concept with vomiting. Obviously, the stomach contents are very acidic. So, if you brush your teeth straightaway, you’re basically rubbing the acid onto your teeth, which can damage them.”

The acidity in the mouth will naturally neutralize overtime — but that time period can take roughly 30 to 60 minutes for the salivary buffers to act, she said. 

It may sound like a challenge to hold off on brushing teeth immediately after vomiting in the hope of getting the taste out of the mouth — but Manouchehri offered a few tips that could help speed up the process.

“Things like drinking water [and] chewing sugar-free chewing gum … will accumulate more saliva so that it can neutralize the acid quicker,” she added.

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Manouchehri advised waiting 30 to 60 minutes after vomiting or eating breakfast and/or sweets before you brush your teeth again, so that the mouth has time to neutralize the high pH levels.

While these are not the only times you should avoid brushing your teeth, Manouchehri highlighted these three because they are times in which people desperately want to brush their teeth immediately, she said.

when you should NOT brush your teeth

Dr. Manouchehri, shown here, said you should not brush your teeth after vomiting, after eating breakfast and after eating sweets. (Dr. Shaadi Manouchehri/@drshaadimanouchehri)

In the mornings, you can be in a rush after eating breakfast — and then reach for your toothbrush.

Manouchehri said that she also doesn’t like the feeling of breakfast still in her mouth, so she has come up with a routine that gives her enough time to enjoy her morning meal and wait the amount of time needed for her pH levels to neutralize.

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As for sweets, she said, that includes anything with sugar, whether it’s a sweet beverage or a decadent dessert.

Sugar is metabolized by bacteria on the teeth, which then creates an acid, Manouchehri said. 

“So, we eat sweets [and] the bacteria on our teeth also feed on that sweet,” Manouchehri said.

Dr. Shaadi headshot

Dr. Shaadi Manouchehri is clinical director at Smart Dental Anesthetics and director at the London School of Facial Esthetics. She’s also become a popular dental expert on TikTok for sharing simple yet helpful tips regarding dental hygiene.  (Dr. Shaadi Manouchehri/@drshaadimanouchehri)

Even though you have to wait to brush your teeth, there are still things you can do to alleviate the annoyance of acid residue and speed up the neutralizing process.

Tips to try 

Try alcohol-free mouthwash to rinse everything out, said Manouchehri. This can remove the acidic content from your mouth without damaging your teeth.

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Sugar-free gum is another great alternative because it helps with “saliva production and that saliva naturally is going to help everything just neutralize a bit,” she added.

Dr. Lucynda Raben, DDS, of Wichita, Kansas, agreed with Manouchehri’s advice — but took the tips even further by generalizing it. 

It is important to allow the pH levels in your mouth to neutralize before brushing your teeth so that the acid does not ruin the structure of your teeth. (iStock)

Raben said you should not immediately brush your teeth after “eating, drinking or vomiting.”

“The premise of this doctor is correct. I would, however, probably reframe her statement to [say that] we want to make a change in the timing,” Raben told Fox News Digital.

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“It is still a good idea to brush after eating, but that brushing should be delayed until the pH has returned to a pH of 5.6 or even better to a neutral pH of 7.0,” Raben said.

Raben agreed that these instances feel like the right time to brush because that is what people believed to be true for so long.

woman smiling eating dessert

Two dentists said that after eating, you should allow the acid levels in your mouth to neutralize before brushing your teeth, which can take between 30 and 60 minutes. The Mayo Clinic, for its part, says, “To protect your teeth, don’t brush them right after having food or drinks that contain a lot of acids.” (iStock)

Now that more and more research has been done, the effects of acid in the mouth have shown that brushing immediately does more harm than good.

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“This [new] practice is now recommended … because we know of the damage [to teeth]. When the acidity is high, the combination of brushing and the acid can actually wipe away part of the tooth. Just as an acid used in cleaning household fixtures may remove the stain, it will also generally remove the finish,” Raben said.

do NOT brush your teeth split

Even though you may desperately want to brush your teeth after vomiting, eating breakfast or eating something sweet, you should wait before reaching for your toothbrush, dental experts say. Dr. Manouchehri, who is going viral on TikTok for her dental care tips, is pictured on the left and right, above. A model is pictured brushing her teeth in the center. (Dr. Shaadi Manouchehri/@drshaadimanouchehri; iStock)

“The result of brushing in an acid environment is insidious. Doing this occasionally can be tolerated, and the effect is not noticeable,” Raben continued. 

However, if the strong habit is established, she said, “this thinning and weakened tooth structure will show up years later.”

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The Mayo Clinic, on its website, notes the following: “To protect your teeth, don’t brush them right after having food or drinks that contain a lot of acids. Examples include soft drinks, such as soda and sports drinks, sour candies, citrus juices and citrus fruits. The acid in them can soften the enamel.”

It adds, “Brushing too soon after you eat or drink something acidic can take the enamel off your teeth. Wait an hour to brush. During that time, your saliva washes away the acid and the enamel hardens again.”

Among its other dental care tips: 

  • Get a new toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. Replace it sooner if the bristles become worn down, bent or broken.
  • Don’t smoke or use other tobacco products.
  • See a dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups.

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