Brushing your teeth before you eat breakfast can help to prevent the dental erosion that can wear away your teeth.
A recent survey by the Foundation found that over three-quarters of people ( 81%) were unaware that brushing their teeth after eating acidic food and drink can damage their teeth permanently.
Acidic foods and drinks, such as oranges, grapefruit and fruit juices that are often eaten at breakfast time, soften the enamel on your teeth.
Brushing immediately afterward wears the enamel away, and can cause dental erosion, which may lead to pain and extreme sensitivity in the teeth, and also lead to cosmetic problems.
The saliva in your mouth neutralises the acidity and restores its natural balance. However research has shown that this can take up to an hour.
Over time, regular consumption of acidic food and drink throughout the day can lead to the loss of the surface of your teeth. To avoid dental erosion, the Foundation encourages people to:
- brush teeth before breakfast if they have fruit or fruit juice, or
- wait one hour after eating or drinking anything acidic before brushing
- use a straw when drinking acidic drinks to reduce contact with teeth
- drink water and milk between meals in preference to juice and fizzy drinks
- chew sugar-free gum - this will produce more saliva to help cancel out acid in your mouth
- finish a meal with cheese or milk to help neutralise any acids
British Dental Health Foundation Chief Executive Dr Nigel Carter said, "Drinks such as fruit juice and fizzy mineral waters are generally considered to be good for your health. However, they can all be bad for your teeth if they're consumed frequently throughout the day and you don't follow a suitable oral care routine."
The public can get free advice and an information leaflet on dental erosion from the Foundation's qualified Dental Helpline team.
The service can be contacted on 0870 333 1188 from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, online at www.dentalhelpline.org.uk or by writing to 2 East Union Street, Rugby, CV22 6AJ