Dentists are finally settling the age-old debate over the best time to brush your teeth after waking up.
In the question of before or after breakfast, one smile expert believes brushing post-coffee and food is the best way.
“Brushing your teeth after breakfast is considered beneficial for oral health because it helps protect your teeth from the potential harm caused by acidic foods and beverages,” Dr. Jay Joshi, of UK-based MKDental, told Metro.
Protecting your teeth from acidic eats — think: orange juice or coffee — is key to stopping enamel softening and damage. And those who brush before breakfast may be leaving their pearly whites more vulnerable to breakdown.
The same goes for brushing too soon after chowing down on your morning meal — as it can further damage teeth due to the enamel’s vulnerable state — and recommend waiting at least 30 minutes after the last bite to clean those pearly whites.
“Waiting about 30 minutes after eating allows your saliva to help neutralize acids and remineralize your teeth, reducing the risk of damage,” Joshi advised.
Brushing post-brekky, he added, also can reduce sensitivity, which is “exacerbated” by brushing pre-meals, and “psychologically discourages snacking between meals.”
“Brushing your teeth after breakfast can create a psychological barrier against snacking between meals, which is beneficial for oral health,” he explained. “This can discourage impulsive eating and promote better meal planning.”
Not brushing after eating can leave food particles in the mouth or between teeth that foster bacteria and, eventually, plaque, which can cause tooth decay, cavities and gum disease.
“Plaque can also irritate your gums and lead to gingivitis (early-stage gum disease) if not properly removed through brushing and flossing,” he said. “If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to more severe forms of gum disease.”
While brushing post-breakfast is best for oral health — and neutralizing coffee breath before heading to the office — it’s not always convenient during the mad dash to get ready and get out the door.
That doesn’t mean, however, that late snoozers should cut corners by brushing in the shower. The heat and humidity from the steamy water can allow bacteria and mold to fester in the bristles of your brush.
“Ultimately, the most crucial aspect is maintaining a consistent and thorough oral hygiene routine, including brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups,” Joshi said.
“The choice of whether to brush before or after breakfast should be based on your individual oral health needs, dietary habits, and personal preferences.”