by Lauren Tam
Brushing twice a day is standard practice for almost everyone. But, I never knew that people brushed their teeth after breakfast until late into elementary school. My friend brought up the topic again. She fiercely stands by brushing after eating. One time, she was even “forced” to brush her teeth before eating at her relatives. So, I wanted to prove which way really works best.
Brushing Before Eating
Brushing before you eat breakfast is much more beneficial for your tooth enamel and overall oral health. As you sleep, plaque-causing bacteria multiply in your mouth. These bacteria are partly the reason for the dreaded morning breath. Cleaning your teeth out with fluoride toothpaste will remove this plaque and bacteria. It also coats your enamel with a protective barrier against acid in your food. When you brush first thing in the morning, you also jump-start your saliva production.
Brushing After Breakfast
If you brush immediately after eating breakfast, it may actually cover your teeth with food remnants, weakening your enamel. It can coat your teeth with substances that leave your enamel even more vulnerable to acidic corrosion. It is recommended you wait 30-60 minutes after eating your meal, especially after having acidic foods, before brushing. Some of the more harmful foods include orange juice, citrus fruit, bread and pastries.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing teeth twice a day for two minutes using fluoride toothpaste. This has been shown to achieve significant plaque removal and the use of a toothpaste containing fluoride enhances fluoride concentration levels in saliva, and is associated with decreased risk of caries and remineralization of teeth. There are many suitable ways, but you usually want to place the toothbrush against the gum line at a 45-degree angle, using short strokes as you go. This will help remove plaque from above and just below the gingival margin.
It’s important to brush your teeth at least twice a day, no matter when you do it. That four minutes a day will help you maintain good oral hygiene and a healthy smile. Just remember, if you decide to brush after breakfast, make sure to wait 30-60 minutes before grabbing your fluoride toothpaste.