Throwing up is a terrible experience, and most of us can attest to it because we have all been through it at some point in time. When you vomit, stomach acid and food residue in the stomach can cause serious damage to your throat and teeth; the experience is only worsened by the foul stench of the vomit that lingers in your mouth.
As such, you may be tempted to wash off all the vomit and brush your teeth right after throwing up. However, opinions have been mixed on whether you should do that. Some believe that it is important to brush your teeth to get rid of the stomach acid that has stained the teeth, while others say that brushing will only make matters worse. So, what’s the right thing to do after vomittng?
The right answer is that you should not brush your teeth after throwing up. The reason? The brushing your teeth causes any residual stomach acid in your mouth to swirl and rub against the teeth, causing more damage to the softened enamel. The enamel is the hard outer shell that protects the dentin and cementum from damage. In spite of it being harder than bone , the enamel is susceptible to erosion by acids.
Instead, you should swish your mouth with a solution containing water and baking soda. Baking soda, also called sodium bicarbonate, has an alkaline pH and helps neutralize any stomach acid left in your mouth. Alternatively, you may use a mouthwash to rinse away any of the stomach acid and get rid of the residual taste in your mouth.
That said, sporadic episodes of vomiting would not cause any significant or permanent damage to your gums and enamel. However, frequent vomiting can lead to health issues such as dehydration, exhuastion, and the tearing of the lining in the esophagus, which is also known as a Mallory-Weiss tear.
When Can I Brush My Teeth?
If you want to brush your teeth, wait till the acid is neutralized and diluted by the saliva. While there is no scientifically established time on when you should to brush your teeth, the general rule of thumb is to do it 30 minutes to an hour after you have rinsed your mouth.
Here are detailed steps you should follow after throwing up:
- Rinse your mouth with a baking soda solution (8 ounces of water mixed with 1 teaspoon of baking soda), mouthwash, or water.
- Wait for 30 minutes to an hour. During this period, do not eat or drink anything other than water.
- If your teeth or mouth feels uneasy, it is likely that the stomach acid left in your mouth is not fully neutralised. Rinse you mouth again and wait for another 10 to 15 minutes
- If your mouth feels comfortable and “normal”, proceed to brush your teeth as per usual.
- Stop brushing if you feel pain or sensitivity in certain section of the teeth. It is likely that damage has been done by the stomach acid. Proceed to your dental clinic for a checkup.
What Is Stomach Acid Made Of?
Stomach acid, also known as gastric acid, is primarily made up of potassium chloride, sodium chloride and hydrochloric acid. While only a small amount of hydrochloric acid make up stomach acid, it is the main contributor of the acid’s low pH level. With a pH level of 1.5 to 2.5, stomach acid is more acidic than lemon juice (2.3) and vinegar (2.9).
Stomach acid is produced by parietal cells found in the gastric glands along the lining of the stomach. You may wonder, how does the stomach survive the strong acid? Well, a protective mucus and bicarbonate is also secreted along the inside of the stomach. The mucus protects the organ against the acid while the bicarbonate, base, neutralizes any hydrochloric acid that penetrates the mucus.
On average, the cells produce approximately 1.5 litres of gastric acid in the stomach. When the body is unable to process the large amount of gastric acid produced in the stomach, it may cause acid reflux, a situation when the acid flows freely up to the oesophagus.
Should you wait to brush teeth after throwing up?
Contrary to how yucky it may feel, it's not great to brush your teeth right after vomiting. It's best to swish water around your mouth with a touch of baking soda after vomiting. We recommend waiting at least 30 minutes before brushing
. Brushing immediately after rubs the stomach acid on teeth. more
Why do I throw up everytime I brush my teeth while pregnant?
You might have an increased gag reflex while brushing your teeth. Some pregnant women find that brushing their teeth, particularly the molars, provokes the gag reflex
When I brush my teeth I throw up?
Research shows that at least ten to fifteen percent of people have a hypersensitive gag reflex
. This reflex does not only gag those sensitive while brushing their teeth, but also when they need to take a pill or eating sticky foods like mashed potatoes or bananas. Some people also gag when they smell something bad! more
How long should I wait to brush my teeth after smoking?
A: If a patient admits to smoking marijuana and does not wish to quit smoking, I tell my patients to take a teaspoon of baking soda with 8 oz of warm water and swish for one minute after ingesting or smoking marijuana. I advise them to wait for about 30 minutes
to brush. more
Why do I throw up when I brush my teeth in the morning? When the sensory nerve ending is touched by the toothbrush, a nerve impulse goes to your sensory neuron which carries the muscle to contract, thus, the gag reflex
Do I brush my teeth after I throw up?
Contrary to how yucky it may feel, it's not great to brush your teeth right after vomiting
. It's best to swish water around your mouth with a touch of baking soda after vomiting. We recommend waiting at least 30 minutes before brushing. Brushing immediately after rubs the stomach acid on teeth. more
How long should you wait to brush your teeth after vomiting?
Contrary to how yucky it may feel, it's not great to brush your teeth right after vomiting. It's best to swish water around your mouth with a touch of baking soda after vomiting. We recommend waiting at least 30 minutes
before brushing. Brushing immediately after rubs the stomach acid on teeth. more
Can I brush my teeth 3 days after wisdom teeth removal?
According to the American Dental Association, do not clean the teeth right next to the healing area for the rest of the day. However, you should start to brush and floss the very next day. Be careful when brushing, making sure to be gentle near the extraction site. more
Why do I throw up when I brush my teeth? When the sensory nerve ending is touched by the toothbrush, a nerve impulse goes to your sensory neuron which carries the muscle to contract, thus, the gag reflex
How long should you wait to brush your teeth after you throw up?
This will help wash away some of the acid and prevent it from sitting on your teeth. Alternatively, you could try rinsing with a solution of water and 1 teaspoon of baking soda to help neutralize and wash the acid away. We recommend waiting 30 minutes
after vomiting before brushing your teeth. more
Can I brush my teeth with toothpaste after wisdom teeth removal?
No brushing or rinsing of any kind should be performed for the rest of the day after surgery. Brushing can be started on the first post-operative day
. For the first 5 postoperative days, do not spit the toothpaste out. To remove the toothpaste let it drool out of your mouth. more