Recently we wrote about working from home and keeping your normal brushing habits up even in the middle of a pandemic. In that article, an important question came up that we’d like to give more attention. As you face working from home, or even if you’re back to commuting, you’ll face one important decision about morning oral health. Should you brush before or after breakfast? Let’s take a closer look at the most important meal of the day and how you should approach brushing when you rise and shine.
When you’re awake, your mouth is busy fighting the bacteria that naturally occurs in your mouth. Saliva is your mouth’s number one defense against the bacteria, which is why a healthy mouth produces saliva regularly all day. Yet when it comes to turning in for the night, your teeth face a renewed threat from bacteria. Hopefully before you sleep you’ve flossed and brushed your teeth right before bed. This will reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth as you go to sleep.
Unfortunately once you’re asleep, the remaining bacteria not killed by bushing goes to work. And before you ask, no it’s quite impossible to kill all the bacteria in your mouth. Remember these are microscopic organisms, and they can easily hide on your teeth. It doesn’t help that your mouth slows down saliva production, but this is necessary otherwise you’ll be swallowing all night in your sleep. As the bacteria sits on your teeth, they eat food particles and produce acid as a result. Needless to say, your teeth are negatively impacted by this acid, especially since you’re sleeping and can’t wash it away with water or saliva. The longer the acid sits on your teeth, the more susceptible you are to potential tooth decay. Once you awake, your morning breakfast doesn’t help all this acid on your teeth.
In America, we love acidic and sugary breakfasts. First, think about the two most popular breakfast drinks: coffee and orange juice. Both are loaded with acids that are harmful for your teeth. Add to this popular sugary cereals or pastries, and you’ve got a bad combination for your teeth on your breakfast table. Normally your teeth are equipped to fight acids with saliva, but when you wake up, your teeth haven’t had much exposure to saliva in a while. So when you add breakfast to a night of acid deposited on your teeth, your teeth are especially vulnerable.
Your best defense against bacteria growth during the night is to wake up and brush immediately. That’s right, the answer to “should you brush before or after breakfast” is absolutely before breakfast. You’ll wash acid away from the night before and put your teeth in a better position to handle eating breakfast. Of course, this is no free pass to eat all the sugary and acidic foods you can handle. Moderation is always key when you’re eating foods and drinks that are harmful to your teeth. And don’t forget to rinse with water as you eat breakfast!
Let’s touch on one last thing regarding the “should you brush before or after breakfast” debate. If you do forget to brush right away and instead eat breakfast when you wake up, it is best to wait 30 minutes before you brush. Why is this? Well acidic fluids like orange juice and coffee can weaken your enamel temporarily, and brushing right after breakfast can spread acids around and actually make things worse. This is especially important to plan out if you’re in a rush.
So there you have it. Make sure you wake up and brush your teeth immediately. Not only will you stem the acid growth sustained overnight from bacteria, but you’ll freshen your breath before you sit down with your family at the breakfast table. Stay tuned for more tips with Grace & Leedy, and don’t forget regular checkups are a key part of oral health. If you’re overdue, there’s never been a better time to get back in the office. Contact us today to schedule your next checkup at our clean, sanitized Lakewood, CO office.