When Should You Brush Your Teeth?

When to Brush Your Teeth

Should you brush your teeth before or after breakfast?

It’s essential to brush your teeth at least twice a day. At night, you probably know that you should brush right before you go to bed. However, you may be wondering whether you should brush your teeth right when you wake up in the morning or after you eat breakfast.

The answer is: You should brush your teeth first thing in the morning as soon as you wake up. The reason is that saliva production decreases, and bacteria grow at a heightened rate during the night, so this is when your teeth are at their most vulnerable. So if you eat breakfast before brushing your teeth, the elevated bacteria get additional fuel to create plaque and tartar.

You are also probably familiar with the phenomenon known as morning breath since most people experience it to some degree. Well, this is direct evidence of the increase in bacteria levels. So, brush first thing in the morning, and your teeth (as well as your loved ones) will thank you!

Furthermore, you should avoid brushing immediately after a meal because the food you just ate can alter the pH balance of your mouth, increasing the acidity. This increase can then contribute to enamel loss during brushing. A good rule of thumb is to wait 30 minutes to one hour before brushing after a meal.

Finally, if you use mouthwash, we recommend using a non-alcohol-based solution. Alcohol can dry out the mouth and decrease saliva production, making bad breath even worse throughout the day.

About Dr. Sean Moran

Dr. Moran is a San Francisco native. He received his undergraduate degree at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. He also received his DDS degree from Creighton University School of Dentistry in 1988 at which time he began practicing general dentistry in San Francisco.

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