Is It Better to Brush Your Teeth Before or After Eating?

What is the best time to brush your teeth, before or after eating breakfast?

Is It Better to Brush Your Teeth Before or After Eating?

Brushing your teeth should definitely be one of the last things you do before you go to sleep at night. But what about in the morning? Is the best time to brush your teeth before or after eating?

Well, it depends. Brushing right after you eat might actually do more harm than good. But brushing before breakfast means you don’t have that minty-fresh feeling when you leave the house. Let’s compare the pros and cons of brushing before or after you eat breakfast.

Pros and Cons of Brushing After Breakfast

When you were growing up, were you taught that you should brush your teeth after every meal? If you’re able to brush three times a day, that’s fantastic! But you might be surprised to find out that brushing immediately after a meal could actually hurt your teeth.

When you eat or drink anything acidic, those acids soften your tooth enamel temporarily and make your teeth more vulnerable to damage. The same thing happens when you eat something sugary—the bacteria that cause plaque turn sugars into acids that attack your teeth and gums. 

It’s best to wait for at least 30 minutes after a meal before you brush your teeth. It takes about that amount of time for your saliva to restore a neutral pH balance. If you brush any sooner, you’ll only be spreading acids around and you could even scuff your enamel with your toothbrush. 

Pros and Cons of Brushing Before Breakfast

It only takes 24 hours for plaque to start hardening into tartar. So if you only brush your teeth twice a day, the closer you can come to 12-hour intervals, the better.

Brushing first thing in the morning is a great way to get rid of any plaque that accumulated overnight. It’s also a good way to make brushing a regular habit. If you make it part of your waking-up routine, you’ll be less likely to forget to brush later on.

If your mornings get pretty hectic, brushing right after you wake up is the best way to make sure you find the time. Brushing first thing in the morning can even help you stay hydrated, because a glass of water always tastes better when your mouth is clean.

Finding the Best Time to Brush Your Teeth

Your daily habits actually play a big role in choosing the best time to brush your teeth. If you can brush 30 minutes after every meal, that’s wonderful! But the best time to brush in the morning depends on what you eat or drink and when you have the time.

The Coffee Addict

Are you the type of person who needs their coffee first thing in the morning? Then it would be better to brush before you have your coffee—just drink a glass of water afterward to get rid of the toothpaste flavor. Brushing first will help remineralize your tooth enamel and protect it from the acidic coffee.

The Breakfast Lover

If you eat or drink anything acidic for breakfast, like grapefruit, orange juice, or coffee, brushing right afterwards isn’t a good idea. The same goes for anything sweet, whether it’s cereal, jam, or pancake syrup. You need to wait at least 30 minutes for your saliva to neutralize the acids before you can brush your teeth safely. 

The Morning Multitasker 

If it’s more important for you to leave the house with your breath smelling fresh, make sure you give yourself enough time in the morning. If you brush too soon after eating, you might be doing more damage than good. 

When the morning rush gets too busy, try drinking a glass of water, rinsing with mouthwash, or chewing some sugar-free gum. All three will give you fresher breath and activate your saliva production, helping rinse away food particles, acids, and harmful bacteria. But don’t forget to brush as soon as you find the time!

Holistic Dental Care in Prescott

Whether you brush your teeth before or after breakfast, keeping up a good oral hygiene routine will help you keep cavities and gum disease at bay. But you also need to find time to see a dentist at least once every six months for a cleaning and exam.

If you’re due for a dental appointment, contact us to schedule a visit today. We’ll check for signs of any problems and polish up your teeth so that you leave smiling brighter. Just call our office at 928-445-1660 or send us a message online.


Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash used with permission under the Creative Commons license for commercial use 9/18/2023.