Before or After Breakfast: The Right Time To Brush Your Teeth

Many people tweak their oral health routine to brush their teeth after having breakfast. Does this have any benefit or is this a futile exercise?

Varun Verma
Written by: Varun VermaUpdated at: Nov 21, 2022 12:51 IST
Before or After Breakfast: The Right Time To Brush Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth twice a day – in the morning and at night – is the normal ritual that most people follow to maintain good oral hygiene. Conventionally, people brush their teeth before having breakfast. But many tweak this routine as per their convenience. You can find many who brush their teeth after having breakfast or bed tea or coffee. This may sound bizarre and unhygienic to some. But there is actually a big debate about whether one should brush their teeth before or after breakfast. Let us explain what should be the best time to brush in the mornings.

How Brushing Benefits Teeth?

During the night, while you are asleep, plaque-causing bacteria constantly multiply in your mouth. This explains why you wake up with a mossy taste and morning breath.

When you brush your teeth right after you wake up, you get rid of these plaque-causing bacteria. This also makes a protective coating over the teeth' enamel to prevent damage from acidic food.

If you do not brush, you are catalysing the risk of enamel degradation by the plaque. When you eat, the already present bacteria in your mouth use that food to further demineralise the enamel, increasing the risk of cavities. Brushing also helps in salivation. Saliva is important in the digestion of food that you eat.

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Can You Brush Your Teeth After Breakfast?

The answer varies from person to person. Some experts suggest brushing your teeth right after you wake up, while others suggest brushing after breakfast. Experts in the favour of brushing after breakfast argue that this routine ensures that the teeth are free of food particles for a longer period of time. This is because you scrape off night food as well as your breakfast leftover particles together. This gives mouth bacteria less opportunity to metabolise sugars and develop cavities or damage enamel.

Risk of Brushing Teeth After Breakfast

The problem that comes with brushing after breakfast is the increased risk of damage to teeth enamel. Although enamel is one of the strongest layers in the body and is most similar to the calcium found in our bones, the physical process of brushing can weaken the tooth structure. If you brush your teeth right after you have something acidic in your breakfast such as coffee or citrus, you may damage your enamel. This happens because the bristles rub the acid into the porous enamel of the teeth, which over time may result in irreparable damage to your teeth.

Precaution to Take if You Brush After Breakfast

To keep teeth damage at bay, one should not immediately brush after having breakfast. Wait for some time after you eat something. The American Dental Association suggests waiting 60 minutes after eating to brush your teeth.

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So What is the Final Verdict?

The straightforward answer is: Brush whenever you can as long as you brush twice a day. This depends upon your current oral health and hygiene. 

If you are prone to forming more plaque-forming bacteria overnight, you should brush your teeth as soon as you wake up, so as to not give the bacteria time to further demineralise your teeth. If you decide to brush after having breakfast, make sure you wait for the recommended time of half an hour to one hour before picking up your toothbrush.

[Disclaimer: The details contained in this article are for informational purposes only and are not medical advice. Make sure to consult a doctor in case of any doubt or query.]

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