Which activity should come first in your morning routine: breakfast or brushing your teeth?
Old habits die (very) hard, but you should heed the advice of your dentist on brushing and flossing routines.
You may be thinking, I brush, so does it really matter when I brush? Well, the truth is, it does.
Below, we explain why it’s best to brush before you eat breakfast. This may seem counterintuitive, but there are several excellent reasons why.
Why Is It Better to Brush My Teeth Before Breakfast?
Our teeth are protected by a hard outer surface called enamel. Considered the hardest substance in our body, even more so than bone, enamel is very strong – yet it’s not impervious to damage. Certain behaviors, including eating or drinking acidic foods and beverages, heavy alcohol intake, brushing your teeth too hard, and skipping dental appointments can put you at risk for weakened enamel.
Most dental professionals agree that brushing twice a day helps reduce your risk of developing cavities, but you may want to consider the time of day that you brush. Many people eat a hearty breakfast, get dressed, and then brush their teeth right before leaving for work. Brushing after breakfast can make you feel that your teeth are free of food, and that your breath is fresh.
The problem is, if you’ve consumed citrus fruit – such as grapefruit or orange – or had a glass of orange juice, your enamel may be at risk. One study conducted at a dental school in Bristol, England, confirmed that erosion caused by citrus juices increases the susceptibility of one’s enamel to toothpaste abrasion.
Brush First, Then Drink Your Orange Juice
Don’t retire your juicer or stay away from the citrus section at the grocery store! Simply make a few modifications to your morning routine. Either brush first thing in the morning, or – if you must brush after breakfast because your mouth feels better that way – wait at 30 minutes after consuming acidic foods and beverages before brushing those pearly whites.
However, the field of dentistry has always touted preventive care, and brushing after we eat is sometimes too late. The science really tells us everything we need to know: The aforementioned Bristol study also found that plaque bacteria combined with a fermentable carbohydrate (found in fruit, honey, milk, and bread) leads to the production of acid.
This means that we should rid our mouth of said plaque before consuming breakfast to prevent tooth decay. Furthermore, this reaction happens quickly: Within seconds of bacteria’s exposure to sucrose, acid production has already begun.
It’s also worth mentioning the importance of saliva, and how we produce very little of it during the night. Full of disinfectant qualities, saliva is responsible for killing mouth bacteria that can be hazardous to our enamel. Our unpleasant morning breath and parched mouth are telltale signs that it is time to brush.
Dentist in St. Paul, MN
Looking for more tips and tricks for proper dental hygiene? Your first step is finding a caring, trustworthy dentist.
Dr. Steven R. Hagerman of Hagerman Dental Care is committed to the long-term health of his patients’ teeth. Offering general, cosmetic, and restorative dental procedures, his office is your one-stop shop for oral care.
For more information, or to schedule your dental appointment with us, call (651) 646-2392 or fill out our simple online appointment request form. We look forward to serving you and your family.