Should You Brush Your Teeth Before or After Eating Breakfast?

Should You Brush Your Teeth Before or After Eating Breakfast?
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Should You Brush Your Teeth Before or After Eating Breakfast?Clinical Content Reviewed by Dr. Jay Khorsandi, DDS
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Table of Contents

  1. Brushing in the Morning
  2. Best Times to Brush Teeth
  3. References

Due to the length of time spent sleeping, it is often best to brush your teeth when you first get up in the morning to eliminate the plaque from your teeth and keep it from hardening on your teeth.

When you eat, acids form in your mouth that interact with the bacteria. This mixture can create plaque buildup on your teeth. If left for too long, plaque can harden into tartar and be more difficult to remove.

This can make brushing your teeth after eating seem like the best course of action. While it can be helpful, brushing after breakfast is often not the most practical solution.

Brushing and flossing regularly can help to keep the plaque from forming on your teeth and causing tooth decay.

When you sleep, bacteria have time to settle in your mouth and on your teeth. This is an important reason for brushing your teeth as soon as you get up in the morning. Additionally, brushing your teeth after consuming acidic foods or drinks, such as coffee or orange juice, can actually work against you and create more issues with your teeth.

Brush Your Teeth First Thing in the Morning

It is common to think the best time to brush your teeth is directly after eating, but this is not always the best option. While leaving food residue on your teeth can lead to plaque buildup, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends waiting at least 60 minutes after eating before brushing your teeth.

This can be problematic after breakfast, as you will often be leaving for work or school soon after breakfast and do not have an hour to wait until brushing your teeth. As a result, brushing the plaque and bacteria off your teeth before breakfast can be a better plan.

Additionally, acidic foods and drinks are often part of the breakfast routine, such as grapefruit, orange juice, and coffee. When you brush your teeth just after consuming something acidic, you can actually contribute to the breakdown of tooth enamel, which can lead to tooth decay.

It takes around 30 to 45 minutes for your saliva to remineralize and build-up the enamel to its previous state.

The Best Times to Brush Your Teeth

It is recommended to brush your teeth at least twice per day. This includes at night before bed and usually also first thing in the morning. It can also be helpful to brush in the middle of the day and an hour after eating a meal as well.

Your dentist may tell you to brush your teeth more often if you are prone to tooth decay.

Here are some tips for brushing your teeth:

  • Brush for at least two minutes at a time.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Use gentle, steady pressure with your toothbrush.
  • Be mindful of overbrushing. It can lead to gum deterioration

In addition to brushing your teeth several times per day, you should also floss daily and consider using a fluoride mouth rinse.

References

8 Bad Brushing Habits to Break in 2021. Mouth Healthy the American Dental Association (ADA). Date Fetched: June 30, 2021.

When to Brush Your Teeth in the Morning: Yes, the Timing Matters. (March 2021). CNET. Date Fetched: June 30, 2021.

Detection, Removal and Prevention of Calculus: Literature Review. (January 2014). Saudi Dental Journal. Date Fetched: June 30, 2021.

How to Reduce Dental Plaque. (December 2019). Humana. Date Fetched: June 30, 2021.

Taking Care of Your Teeth and Mouth. (March 2020). National Institute on Aging (NIA). Date Fetched: June 30, 2021.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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