This is my personal view and I believe it’s a valid point. If you brush your teeth before breakfast and then eat something straight after you have just wasted the effectiveness of your brushing. Why?
well it’s natural that food particles will get stuck in between teeth and sometimes even below the gum lines which is the worst thing possible if you want to stop plaque build up. You might say well I’m going to brush right after eating so I’m alright but that’s even worse.
When you eat, acid and sugar will be released from the food causing it to stick to the teeth. If you start brushing straight after there is a high risk of eroding the enamel on your teeth. According to Mayo clinic you should wait at least 30 -45 minutes after you have eaten a meal before brushing your teeth. This way the acid activity will slow down and there is less of a chance your enamel will be affected.
Lets Look At What Dental Professionals Say?
This question is similar to the PS3 vs X box debate, there will always be people who say brushing before eating is better than after. But let’s see what different dentists say:
(For) Brushing Before Breakfast
Scott Frey is an orthodontist and he firmly believes that brushing teeth before breakfast is the best. Here are a couple of reasons behind his decision:
- Bacteria metabolise sugars into acids almost instantly.
Bacterial bio films have been growing and maturing overnight in a reduced salivary environment. They will be all geared up for the sugar that is about to come their way. Brushing as soon as you get up will help destabalise the bacterial population and help reduce the acid that has built up overnight.
- Salivary calcium levels are lowest in the morning putting your teeth at a much higher risk of acidic damage from bacteria and dietary acids in the morning than at any other time.
Demineralization occurs at a more rapid rate than Remineralization so it is imperative that you start to combat demineralization as quickly as possible. Brushing first thing in the morning will help kick start your salivary flow and the fluoride will help protect teeth against acid and in turn reduce cavities.
- Consuming acidic foods or drinks can soften your enamel and make your teeth more vulnerable to toothbrush abrasion If you brush immediately after eating.
Toothbrush abrasion and erosion are far more common nowadays because of all the junk food and sugary drinks available to people. Brushing right after having a nice glass of Orange juice or coke will lead to increased loss of enamel erosion and sensitivity.
So that’s what one dentist had to say about brushing before breakfast now lets look at another one saying the opposite:
(For) Brushing After Breakfast
Ronald Leach is a retired dentist who has been in the industry for 42 years, says that brushing after breakfast is best. He carries the same opinion as myself which is, If you brush before, the food is deposited on your clean teeth. Now the teeth are dirty again.
He also mentions that one of his patients with an extremely high decay rate could not get to the underlying problem as why this was. Ronald was confused as well but after discussing in detail, the patient mentioned he brushed before eating his breakfast. They changed the timing of the brushing and the decay issue disappeared.
You can see with this story there was an immediate improvement when the brushing time was changed to after breakfast. It also makes my initial statement more authoritative because honestly I was getting into two minds when I first read Scott Frey’s explanation. I’m in no way doubting his credentials or his way of doing things, but this is what worked for me and that’s what I’m trying to portray across to you guys/girls.
Some Oral Health Professionals Prefer a Two-Step Approach
Cathye L Smithwick is a dental hygienist in Silicon Valley and she likes a 2 step approach:
- Upon Waking Up – She brushes her teeth with only water and flosses thoroughly. This helps to remove the soft plaque built up during the night, which can be heavy at times due to a reduced saliva production. She states that using water stops the bad taste that comes about when eating right after using a strong flavored toothpaste.
- After Breakfast/ Before Leaving For Work – After she has eaten her breakfast, she will usually wait 30 minutes before brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing lightly to remove small little particles of food that may be stuck in between teeth.
After reading this I might actually give this method a go, it seems quite reasonable because all your doing is cleaning the mouth with water and reducing the acid built up overnight. And then after breakfast you start the major cleaning process.
Here Is My Actual Daily Routine
- 10.00 Am. Wake up and drink some water and have breakfast, usually some cereal with milk. Also, a cup of tea.
- 12.30 Pm. Floss my teeth for about 5 minutes trying to get in between each tooth and then brushing my teeth with The Orawellness Shine Remineralizing Tooth Whitening Powder. I sometimes use an electric toothbrush when I use normal fluoride toothpaste but lately I prefer using a soft manual brush simply because of the powder I am using.
- 18.00 Pm. Eat dinner and then rinse my mouth out with water after (can’t do anything else because I work the late shift, so no access to brush or floss).
- 22.00 Pm. Get home and have some more food.
- 23.00 Pm. Brush my teeth with fluoride toothpaste and floss. I also use a non alcohol based mouthwash before going to bed.
NOTE: On my days off I tend to floss after each meal and use the orawellness shine powder 2 times per day.
So Should You Brush Your Teeth Before Breakfast?
It’s simply up to your personal preference, some people like brushing before and some like it after. We have given you perspective from both sides.
Is There Any Scientifc Research On The Timing Of Your Brushing
There isn’t any solid fool proof evidence suggesting you should do one or the other but there was an interesting Study carried out by Koreans in 2017 which concluded that brushing 3 times per day for 3 minutes within 3 minutes (3-3-3 approach) of eating lowered incidences of periodontal disease than Americans and Australians who are taught to brush twice a day.
This suggests that brushing after eating works better but we also need to factor in the Koreans diet and eating habits. The diet of Koreans Is made up of rice, vegetable and meats. It also depends on the way they cook their food which also affects the acid production rate in the mouth.
Generally speaking though, Korean cuisine is much healthier than American cuisine. That might play a role in the effectiveness of the 3-3-3 approach. If people in the western world tried this, I would suspect there would be high levels of enamel erosion.
There is still a lot of research that needs to be carried out to fully understand if there actually is anything significant about the timings on when we should brush our teeth. Currently most Dental professionals say that brushing before is better but not All say this.
Top Tips For Keeping Teeth Clean And Acid Free
Always swish your mouth with water after you have had a meal and get rid of food particles stuck in between your teeth. This sounds basic but is essential for optimum oral health.
Chew Xylitol based gum throughout the day which will keep your saliva flowing at optimum levels. This is important because saliva plays a massive role in keeping teeth mineralized.
Stop eating junk food all the time and definitely cut out the sugary, fizzy drinks, it will just erode your enamel.
Use an Electric toothbrush as it has been proven to reduce plaque by up to 50% in some studies.
Eat some cheese. It can lower the pH level of bacterial plaque and help the teeth to rebuild the minerals within the enamel.
Brushing before or after breakfast is an ongoing argument, with most leaning towards brushing before but there is no significant evidence favoring either one. Right now it’s all about how you feel and your preference.
Ultimately it’s about you brushing your teeth properly and flossing using the correct technique twice a day, weather that’s before or after.
If you have to brush post breakfast or other meals, ensure you leave at least 30 minutes between eating and brushing for the natural PH balance of the mouth to return.
I personally like brushing after my meal because food particles always get stuck in between my teeth and also because I have a big gap between breakfast and dinner so want to keep my mouth clean during this period. Chewing a Xylitol based gum helps tremendously to keep my mouth hydrated.
Hopefully this article has helped you become aware of the different stance dental professionals have taken on this subject. If you have any other questions you would like answering please leave a comment below and we will get back to you.