When you first rise out of bed do you make a bee-line for the bathroom to brush your teeth? Or perhaps, you’re the kind of person who prefers to brush his or her teeth after you’ve had some water, coffee, and something to eat. While the motivations for when you brush typically fall down to personal preference, there are times when you shouldn’t brush your teeth.
Should I brush before or after breakfast?
For dental health, it is important to set aside one’s personal preferences when it comes to cleaning your teeth. A dentist will recommend that people brush prior to eating breakfast simply because our teeth become temporarily weaker after meals. Overzealous brushing while teeth are soft can lead to permanent tooth enamel damage and increase a person’s risk for problems like dental caries.
During meals, the bacteria in our mouths wake up and feed on food particles – especially sugar molecules. When bacteria feed, they produce acid as a by-product, which will temporarily soften the mineral content of tooth enamel. If one were to brush after eating, he or she will be exposing weakened tooth structure to the repetitive strokes of brushing.
Brushing before breakfast gives you an opportunity to thoroughly brush away bacteria and debris without compromising your teeth in a weakened state. If you must insist on brushing after you eat, be sure to wait about half an hour before doing so. After eating, your teeth will need a 30-minute break before you brush.
When should I brush next?
Some people like to brush in the middle of the day between their morning and night brushings but as long as a person brushes properly, he or she should do fine with two brushings per day so long as a dentist doesn’t recommend otherwise.
The second most important time to brush is just before bed. Brushing our teeth before bed is essential for removing food molecules and debris before we sleep for eight hours. If we go to bed with dirty mouths, we increase the damage that can be done by bacteria while we sleep.
Don’t forget to schedule regular checkups and cleanings with our dentist for optimal oral health.