When should you brush your teeth in the morning?

Everyone brushes their teeth in the morning, but is there a best time to scrub those teeth? Should you brush your teeth before or after eating breakfast? Or before or after that morning coffee? In this post, you'll learn why it's best to brush your teeth before breakfast and learn how timing can impact your oral health.


Why does timing matter?

Why does it matter when you brush? Sharon L. Albright, D.D.S. says, “Do it as soon as you wake up. In general, you should avoid brushing directly after a meal. Acids are in high gear, working to break down your food for approximately 20 minutes after a meal. Brushing during that time will force acid into the pores of your tooth enamel and help to break it down.”

Enamel is the hard, outer covering of your teeth. It’s the hardest substance in your body, but it’s very sensitive to acidic foods. The acid in these foods attacks your enamel and makes it soft. Soft enamel can be damaged by brushing. If you don’t take care of your enamel, it will become weak and disappear. This makes your teeth look discolored and actually decay your teeth, opening the door for cavities and other problems.

So what do you do if you've already had a mouthful of cereal and downed a cup of orange juice? Wait at least 30 minutes after you eat before brushing your teeth. This will give your mouth some time to recover. Your saliva helps to 'rinse out' the bad bacteria in your mouth - a cup of water helps too!


How does food affect your teeth?

According to the American Dental Association, or ADA, “the foods you choose and how often you eat them can affect your general health and the health of your teeth and gums, too”. Having balanced and nutritional diet naturally benefits your oral health. Diets lacking certain nutrients can leave your teeth vulnerable to infections, which leads to gum disease and tooth loss.

Consuming large amounts of acidic foods can also be damaging to your teeth. Calcium is the key ingredient to building strong bones and teeth, and acidic foods pull the calcium out of your teeth. Many breakfast foods like orange juice, jams and jellies, and grapefruit all contain high concentrations of citric acid. Citric acid weakens the enamel on your teeth and over time can cause your teeth to decay and be discolored.

You can still have your morning glass of orange juice, as long as you don’t follow it with brushing your teeth - remember, timing matters.


Brushing Before Breakfast Has Benefits

Eating a well-rounded breakfast is just as important as starting your day with a clean mouth. Even if you brush your teeth at night, you still have bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria are busy growing overnight (morning breath) and need to be eliminated as soon as you wake up.

According to Coburg Dental Group, “If you reduce the total number of bacteria in your mouth that can produce acid before you break your nightly fast, then you’ll limit how acidic your oral pH becomes. You’ll be introducing fluoride into the dental plaque fluid to reduce the damage the bacteria can do to your teeth.”

If these bacteria stay in your mouth and interact with your breakfast food, they convert sugars into acid in your mouth. This causes a lot of damage to your teeth, especially if your enamel is weakened by acidic foods. Having bacteria in your mouth is unavoidable, but it’s also easily managed. This is why it’s so important that you brush your teeth before you start your day, and definitely before you eat breakfast.

The best way to protect your teeth and keep your mouth healthy and happy is to brush your teeth as soon as you wake up. This gets any bacteria out of your mouth first thing. It can also strengthen your enamel, and leave your mouth ready to enjoy a nutritious breakfast. It’s also important that you brush with a fluoride toothpaste. The ADA says, “In addition to fluoride, toothpastes may contain active ingredients to help in ways such as lessening tooth sensitivity, whitening teeth, reducing gingivitis or tartar build-up, or preventing enamel erosion or bad breath.”

The Oral Health Foundation says, “Every time you eat or drink anything acidic, the enamel on your teeth becomes softer for a short while, and loses some of its mineral content. Your saliva will slowly cancel out this acidity in your mouth and get it back to its natural balance. However, if this acid attack happens too often, your mouth does not have a chance to repair itself and tiny bits of enamel can be brushed away. Over time, you start to lose the surface of your teeth.”

Acid plaque destroys tooth enamel and creates cavities in your teeth. If the acid plaque isn’t stopped, it can destroy your entire tooth from the outside into the center of the tooth. Because enamel isn’t a living part of our bodies, it doesn’t grow back naturally. Once you lose the enamel you’ve got, that’s it.

If you can’t change your schedule to brush your teeth before eating breakfast, wait at least 30 minutes before you brush. This isn’t the best time to brush your teeth, but it will at least give your mouth some time to recover. After eating breakfast, rinse your mouth or drink some water and then wait 30 minutes to brush.

Brushing Before Breakfast Is Best

Brushing your teeth before breakfast is the best way to take care of your teeth.

Brushing twice a day with a sonic powered electric toothbrush can have a transformative impact on your oral health. We hope we’ve inspired you to take it one step further and brush before you eat breakfast to protect the enamel and increase the lifespan of that beautiful smile!