Brushing your teeth every morning and evening could help protect you from dental decay. However, there are some occasions when reaching for your toothbrush could do more harm than good. Here are three situations where brushing may not be the best option.

1. Immediately After a Meal

In the morning, do you eat cereal and juice and then head straight for the bathroom to clean your teeth? You could be wearing down your tooth enamel by brushing right after you eat or drink, particularly if your meals contain acidic foods like citrus fruits or tomatoes. These naturally acidic foods soften tooth enamel, allowing the strokes of your toothbrush to wear it away.

Instead of brushing… Rinse your mouth with water to remove any traces of food and chew sugar-free gum to produce saliva that neutralises acids. After 30 minutes, it's safe to brush your teeth. If you can't wait for 30 minutes after breakfast, brush your teeth before breakfast instead.

2. When You're Sick

When you vomit, it's normal to want to clean your mouth, which for most people means reaching for their toothbrush. However, brushing your teeth after vomiting is even worse than brushing immediately after you eat. Stomach fluids are highly acidic and can soften tooth enamel, making it vulnerable to erosion.

Instead of brushing… Rinse your mouth with water and baking soda to reduce the acidity. If you vomit frequently, see your doctor to find out why and get treatment. If you have an ongoing medical condition that causes vomiting, let your dentist know. Dentists can prescribe mouth rinses to protect your teeth and strengthen enamel while you address the underlying problem.

3. When You Already Brushed More Than Twice Today

Brushing your teeth more than three times a day can wear down tooth enamel and leave gums feeling sore. If you already brushed your teeth more than twice today, ask yourself whether you really need to brush again. If you must brush your teeth more than three times daily, use a soft brush and apply only gentle pressure to minimize the damage to your teeth and gums.

Instead of brushing… Use a mouth rinse to freshen breath instead of brushing excessively. If you brush multiple times a day because you struggle with bad breath, speak to your dentist, who may be able to diagnose and treat the underlying cause of the problem. If you still feel a craving for freshness multiple times a day, try using sugar-free gum or mints to keep your breath smelling sweet all day long.