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Migraines, Nausea and Vomiting, and Our Teeth

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.

Migraines and Dental HealthNobody 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.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • body
    7 years ago

    Good advice! Although my migraines are much less frequent now, when I get one the nausea and vomiting are debilitating. I’ll remember to wait before I brush.

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    7 years ago

    Biotene is also my choice. It’s more than my Sjogren’s that drives me to keep this stuff on hand, but the ingredients that are and aren’t in it that can be helpful to those who vomit or have LPR (laryngopharyngeal reflux which is basically GERD that goes into the lungs, sinuses and even mouth). It contains no drying or damaging alcohol and does contain the chemical equivalent of saliva as well as sugars that have been shown to be anti-bacterial. Patients can ask their dentists about fluoride treatments in case they may be helpful to maintain their enamel. Too much fluoride can have negative results too, so this is a good discussion to have with your dentist.

  • Teri-Robert author
    7 years ago

    You’re welcome, Jen! You might mention this to your dentist and hygienist so they’re aware and see if they have any extra suggestions.

  • Jen T
    7 years ago

    Thanks a lot for this article, Terri. The information is timely for me, as I’m just getting over one of the worst migraines I’ve had in a long time (nausea/vomiting all day yesterday). I’ve had concerns over the years about what all that stomach acid could do to my teeth.

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator
    7 years ago

    I use Biotene for my excess dry mouth due to Sjogren’s Syndrome. Regular mouthwash makes my mouth extra dry. Thanks for the reminder Angela!

  • mast610
    7 years ago

    My dentist suggested Biotene; it’s gentle to the lining of the mouth and the surface of the tongue.

  • Teri-Robert author
    7 years ago

    Thanks for the feedback, Angela. Biotene can be great for those us whose mouths are dry.

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