Should You Brush Your Teeth Before or After Breakfast?

August 9, 2022

It’s a great debate among husbands and wives, roommates, parents and children, and partners– is it better to brush your teeth before breakfast or after? Well, regardless of which side you are on, the answer isn’t as black and white as it may seem.

First, let’s talk about what the American Dental Association recommends. It has long been established that people of all ages should brush twice daily and for two minutes each time. They also recommend using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled manual or electric toothbrush.

Now we can discuss the pros and cons of brushing before breakfast and after breakfast.

Brushing Before Breakfast

What is the first thing you do when you get out of bed in the morning? Most people head straight to the bathroom. While you’re in there, you might as well brush your teeth. There are several benefits to brushing your teeth before breakfast, including:

  • Getting rid of morning breath. Bad breath in the morning is normal. When you sleep, plaque-causing bacteria multiply in your mouth and create a foul odor. The only way to get rid of this smell is to remove the bacteria from your teeth by brushing.
  • Provides protection against acidic breakfast foods. Coffee, orange juice, pastries, and bread are all harmful to your dental enamel. However, if you brush before eating, the toothpaste will create a protective barrier on your teeth.
  • Increase your saliva production. Brushing first thing in the morning triggers saliva production so your mouth begins cleaning itself before, during, and after your meals. Saliva also helps break down food and kills harmful bacteria.

With all of these benefits, why do some people wait until after breakfast to brush? Here are some common reasons:

  • They don’t want to ruin the taste of their coffee, juice, or breakfast meal.
  • They would rather have fresh breath right before leaving the house than taint it with the smell of food and coffee.
  • They simply don’t know the benefits of brushing before breakfast.

Brushing After Breakfast

Brushing your teeth after breakfast certainly has a few benefits. For one, you have the feeling and smell of minty freshness before you leave for work or school. Also, the toothpaste won’t change the way your breakfast or coffee tastes.

Unfortunately, there could be serious consequences if you brush your teeth immediately after eating or drinking. Sweet, starchy, and acidic foods weaken your enamel. When you brush after consuming these, you wear down the enamel even further.

Here are a few examples of harmful breakfast foods and beverages:

  • Fruit juice
  • Coffee
  • Dried fruits
  • Citrus fruits
  • Pastries
  • Bread

Tooth-friendly breakfast options include:

  • Eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Omelets
  • Smoothies
  • Whole grain cereals

After eating, it’s best to wait thirty minutes to an hour before brushing your teeth. This ensures that your protective enamel has hardened and won’t be damaged by brushing. During that time, be sure to drink water and you could even chew sugar-free gum to support healthy, strong enamel.

If you don’t have thirty minutes to wait after eating, it’s best to brush first thing in the morning to avoid dental damage.

Brushing Techniques & Tips

Want to get the most out of your brushing? Make sure you are using the proper technique and tools. How you brush your teeth is just as important as when you brush your teeth. Doing it the wrong way can cause damage or leave remnants of food and plaque that cause cavities.

Here are the four steps you should follow when brushing your teeth:

  1. Wet your toothbrush and place a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
  2. Using circular motions, brush the back, front, and chewing surfaces of each tooth at an angle for two minutes.
  3. Brush your tongue.
  4. Spit out leftover toothpaste.

To make your brushing experience as beneficial as possible, incorporate these tips:

  • Use a soft-bristled electric toothbrush.
  • Replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head when the bristles look worn or every three months.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste.
  • Use light pressure when brushing your teeth.
  • Don’t rinse your mouth after brushing– the fluoride will continue to help strengthen your enamel.
  • Wait 30 minutes before eating or drinking anything.
  • Talk to your dentist about the best tools and techniques for your teeth.

The Consensus

In most cases, it’s best to brush your teeth before breakfast. This ensures that your enamel is protected and that you don’t run out of time before leaving the house for work or school. Sugar-free gum is a great way to clean your teeth and achieve fresh breath after breakfast while also supporting a healthy smile.

Want more tips and tricks for a healthy smile? Contact our office today to schedule an appointment. We’re happy to answer your questions about oral health and can recommend personalized tips for you.

Michael R. Dorociak, DDS, MAGD - Sarasota Family Dental

3900 Clark Rd Suite J5, Sarasota, FL 34233

(941) 924-1100

Sarasota, Florida Dentist, Sarasota Family Dental is committed to dental excellence and offers patients a comprehensive list of family and cosmetic dental services including dental cleanings & exams, teeth whitening, tooth colored fillings, crowns, bridges, dentures, Invisalign, root canals, dental implants, and emergency dental care. Please come and visit Sarasota, FL dentist, Michael R. Dorociak, DDS, MAGD.

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