Dentists: Question About Brushing

When I was a kid there seemed to be an emphasis on brushing your teeth after eating. After every meal, in fact.

Now, it seems the rules are “twice a day” and “not too soon after eating” due to the effect of acidic foods and beverages on enamel.

OK, how long after eating should you brush? Obviously, somewhere between “immediately” and “never”, but is there an optimum window? Guidelines?

IANAD, 30 minutes is usually what I see recommended.

Of course in last decade they’ve been back and forth between whether to brush up and down or in circles.

How would you manage doing it after every meal, if you’re not at home for a meal?

If it’s a meal I eat at work, then I usually have in my office a second set of oral hygiene equipment (dental floss, toothbrush, toothpaste), the use of which I build into my allotted lunch break. If it’s a meal I eat away from both home and office, no such luck, and I have to assume that brushing only twice that day will suffice.

Dentist here, yes as** thelurkinghorror** said 30 min. It isn’t a hard and fast rule. At work or out if one can’t brush rinsing with water or chewing sugar free gum is fine.

Strokes one way only, away from the gums toward the biting edges of the teeth, to avoid receding gums. Is that what you mean by “in circles”?

Here’s the official word from the US ADA:

My overall impression is they’ve dumbed this down about as far as they can in an effort to get non-brushers to at least try. So it’s probably not the optimal way to brush, more like the lowest common denominator way to brush.

What if you eat just before bedtime? Brush immediately or let things ferment overnight?
Also, while we’re all here - I’ve always heard from official sources to use only a soft-bristle brush. Yet the store I work at sells not only medium but firm bristle brushes. Is there ever a time/circumstance where a dentist would recommend one of those, or is it a matter of some of the general public wanting them and thus they are sold to meet demand?

brush right away

plaque is soft enough to be removed by soft bristles. Anything else is just potentially more abrasive. I am sure sold due to demand. Everyone I know only recommends soft.

I’ve only encountered the “soft only” thing in the last few years. Stiffer bristles might be better for cleaning grout, otherwise I’ve got nothing.