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Is Brushing Teeth after Eating Good for You

A woman brushing her teeth in front of a mirror.

Should You Brush Your Teeth Before or After Breakfast

Brushing your teeth is essential for keeping your pearly whites in tip-top condition. While it is very important how you brush your teeth, you should also pay attention to when you brush. While it would be perfect to brush right after you jump out of bed, some people can’t start to function without having a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, and brushing is the last thing on their minds. Regardless if you brush right after you wake up or after your first meal, we will describe the pros and cons of both methods in the article below.

Brushing Before Breakfast

Overnight the plaque and bacteria build up in your mouth and around your teeth. Brushing first thing in the morning is a smart choice since it removes those bacteria before you feed them with sugars and carbs during breakfast. There are a few other benefits from brushing before breakfast like:

Morning breath

The bacteria and plaque multiply in your mouth during the night and create bad breath in the morning. Brushing right after you wake up will remove the smell from your mouth before continuing your day.

Saliva production

Saliva is the best friend of your teeth. It’s a part of your mouth's self-cleaning process, and it will enhance the cleaning before, during, and after breakfast. It also plays a crucial role in killing bacteria and breaking down food.

Protection against acidic breakfast

Acidic foods like bread, pastries, orange juice, and coffee are all enemies of your enamel. Brushing your teeth before you eat will create a protective barrier against the acid, and you won't need to brush afterward, you will just need to floss and rinse out your teeth with water.

Brushing After Breakfast

If you do not want to ruin the taste of your morning coffee or your breakfast, you should reconsider your habits, because the benefits of brushing before eating are much greater than after. Even if you do change your routine, there are some days that you will forget to brush before eating. When that happens make sure that you don't brush your teeth right after you finish eating. Rinse out your mouth with water and wait for 20-30 minutes before you wash your teeth. This is important because the acids from the food will weaken your enamel, and if you wash right after, you will accelerate the enamel wear. If you wait a bit the saliva will neutralize the acids and remineralize your enamel, so you won't wear it down as much when you clean your teeth.

Harmful Breakfast Goods For Your Oral Health

Not all breakfast foods are tooth-friendly, and paying attention to what you eat will greatly improve your oral health. Some foods you should avoid eating for breakfast are:

  • Cereals high in sugars

There are a lot of breakfast cereals that are high in sugar. Sugar contributes to tooth decay, and is used by bacteria to produce acid, which in turn can weaken your tooth enamel.

  • Juices and citrus fruits

Citruses and juices are very healthy and a great source of vitamin C. However they are very acidic foods that can weaken your enamel, so rinsing well with water after eating is a must.

  • Bagels, Muffins, and Bread

Pastries are high in refined carbohydrates, which are broken down into sugars in your mouth. These are in turn used by bacteria to provide acids and damage your enamel.

  • Coffee and Tea

These beverages stain your teeth, and if you like to put sugar in them, it can contribute to tooth decay. Make sure to rinse well after drinking coffee or tea.

Tooth-Friendly Options

Here is a list of healthy and delicious breakfast options that aren't harmful to your teeth:

  • Eggs

Eggs are very popular breakfast options in almost all cultures since they are delicious and packed full of protein and low in sugar. Also, eggs are rich in vitamin D, which is very important for the well-being of teeth and bones.

  • Yogurt

Yogurt is a great source of calcium which is essential for strong teeth. You can add fruit to it to make it even more delicious.

  • Whole grain bread and cereals

Whole grain products are low in sugars and high in carbs, which can help in the natural cleaning process of your teeth.

  • Oatmeal

Oatmeal is low in sugars and rich in fiber, which is great as a breakfast option and is great for your teeth.

Granola and yogurt in a wooden bowl.

If You Want More Tips About Oral Health

Maintaining good oral health doesn't only relate to your teeth, but it impacts your overall health as well. It is important to keep in mind that whether you brush your teeth before or after you eat isn't the only thing that contributes to good oral health.

Brushing your teeth regularly is the most important thing, however, flossing and using mouthwash also contribute to keeping your teeth healthy. Another important thing to keep in mind is your diet. Keeping a balanced diet that is low in sugars and high in nutrients also plays a major role in keeping your gums and teeth in good condition. And, of course, visiting your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings is essential for preventing oral health issues.

And to sum it all up to end the debate of whether you should clean your teeth before or after you eat, the answer is simple. Brushing before you eat has more benefits. However, it isn’t the end of the world if you brush after you eat, as long as you follow a few simple rules that we described above.