When you have a Migraine attack, do your Migraine symptoms include nausea and vomiting? If so, do you find yourself reaching for your toothbrush during a Migraine as a result? If you do, you may be harming your teeth while you freshen your breath and the taste in your mouth.
You may have seen some of the television commercials, magazine articles, or other information recently that advise us not to brush our teeth immediately after consuming acidic foods and beverages. There’s a good, solid reason for this advice. When we consume acidic foods and beverages, the acids from them stay coat our teeth and temporarily soften the enamel on them. Brushing our teeth immediately can brush the acids into the enamel layer and damage the softened enamel.
Nobody wants to discuss it, but the same thing happens when we vomit. The acids in our stomach that are there to digest foods get on our teeth and can soften the enamel just as the acids in foods and beverages.
So, what can we do? Obviously, we want to be able to freshen our mouths. We should wait at least 30 minutes after vomiting to brush our teeth, and we should be sure we’ve rinsed our mouths really well first, but here are some suggestions for freshening our mouths while we wait:
- Rinse your mouth with plain water. Some people will find cold water more comfortable, while others will find water closer to body temperature more comfortable and less likely to make them nauseous.
- Rinse with water with a bit of baking soda dissolved in it. The baking soda will help neutralize the acid. Again, choose the temperature that’s most comfortable for you.
- Rinse with mouthwash.
When you do brush, be sure to floss to get between your teeth, and spend enough time brushing the lingual side of your teeth, the side next to the tongue.
If vomiting with Migraines is a very frequent problem for you, it certainly couldn’t hurt to mention this to your dentist and see if he or she recommends any of the toothpastes that are now available to help strengthen the enamel on our teeth.
Please keep in mind that this can go beyond an appearance issue to being an oral health issue. It may seem like a lot of trouble, but once it becomes a habit, it really isn’t, and it can save us a great deal of time, pain, and expense down the road.
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© Teri Robert, 2014 Last updated February 26, 2014.
Teri Robert is a leading patient educator and advocate and the author of Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches. A co-founder of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy and the American Headache and Migraine Association, she received the National Headache Foundation’s Patient Partners Award and a Distinguished Service Award from the American Headache Society. Teri can be found on her website, and blog, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.