When it comes to practicing good oral hygiene, you probably already know that you should brush your teeth twice a day, for at least three minutes each session. For most people that means brushing their teeth in the morning and at night, but should you brush your teeth in the morning before breakfast or after breakfast? The answer may depend on how your mouth feels in the morning and your morning habits.
Your Mouth at Night
When you go to bed each night, your mouth also sleeps. This means there is less saliva produced, and as we know, saliva bathes the teeth in nutrient-rich minerals that help keep the enamel in good condition. Since there is less saliva production at night, the bacteria in your mouth start to thrive, and the amount of plaque covering your teeth and gums increases. By morning, the bacteria and plaque are poised to create havoc in the mouth. This is likely why some people wake up with terrible morning breath.
Brushing as Soon as You Wake Up
If you have terrible morning breath or wake up with a foul taste in your mouth, you probably want to brush your teeth immediately, and this is fine. Brushing your teeth directly after waking up can help your mouth feel fresh and clean, eliminate the bacteria that developed in your mouth overnight, and stimulate the production of saliva. Not to mention, your breakfast will probably be more enjoyable.
The caveat to this is that you shouldn’t eat right away. Most toothpastes contain fluoride, and that should be allowed to work on your teeth for at least 30 minutes without you eating or drinking anything. If you take a shower after brushing your teeth or head to the gym in the morning before eating breakfast, those tasks will fill that 30-minute timeframe. Just remember to brush your teeth again about 30 minutes after eating breakfast. Following this routine means that you will be brushing your teeth at least three times a day.
Brushing After Breakfast
If you do not wake up with horrific morning breath and there’s no nasty taste in your mouth, it’s fine to wait until after breakfast to brush your teeth. In fact, many dentists consider brushing after breakfast to be best, especially if you are only going to brush your teeth once in the morning.
The reason is simple: many breakfast foods are high in sugar and carbohydrates. This includes fruit juice, berries, pancakes, cereal, toast, baked goods, and even your morning coffee; especially if you fill it with cream and sugar. When you eat foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates, including complex carbohydrates, the bacteria in your mouth also eat that food. This causes them to multiply. This increases the acidity in your mouth, and that acid attacks the enamel protecting your teeth. These acid attacks can last anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes after you eat.
The trick is to not brush too quickly after breakfast. If you eat and then immediately run to the bathroom to brush and floss your teeth, this could do more harm than good, especially if you drank orange juice or ate something acidic, like a grapefruit. Brushing your teeth directly after eating these foods can actually increase the wear and tear on your enamel. For this reason, our dentist in West Melbourne recommends waiting 30 minutes after eating to brush your teeth.
Determining the Brushing Schedule that Works for Your Lifestyle
If you are having trouble developing a brushing and flossing schedule that works for your lifestyle and your eating habits, our dentist in West Melbourne can help by evaluating your morning and evening routines and recommending oral hygiene products that can increase the thoroughness of your brushing so that you experience fewer cavities. They can also recommend oral hygiene products that can increase the effectiveness of your brushing and flossing, as well as answer your oral health questions.
To schedule your next dental checkup at Artistic Touch Dentistry, give us a call at 321-724-1400.