Should I Brush My Teeth Before or After Breakfast?

By Ted Gerner | December 28, 2022

I always brush my teeth right after I wake up. Likewise, many people can’t go without brushing their teeth first thing in the morning. You’ve probably guessed it right. We aren’t a fan of the mossy morning breath. Besides, brushing earlier wakes you up for a brand-new day, especially if you use that powerful Philips electric toothbrush. But what about brushing after breakfast? I often feel the need to brush my teeth again.

Others hate the taste of toothpaste leaves in their mouths. They can’t enjoy their breakfast foods properly and can only brush their teeth once they eat breakfast. So, shouldn’t that gather even more bacteria in their mouths?

Should you brush your teeth before or after breakfast is a tricky question, but the answer to it? Let’s find out!

Should You Brush Your Teeth Before or After Breakfast?

Whether you should brush your teeth before or after breakfast is a matter of personal preference. Yet, scientifically and as most dentists advised, brushing your teeth before breakfast is better for your dental health.

Brushing before your morning mealtime will remove all the accumulated bacteria inside your mouth from the night before. Getting rid of the plaque will protect your teeth from forming tartar, decay, and any sort of gum inflammation.

However, you may also brush your teeth after breakfast. Only in that case should you wait for at least 30 minutes to do so.

Anyone who eats a high-carb, sugary breakfast should brush their teeth before breakfast.

Related reading: How to Clean Your Toothbrush?

Brushing Before Breakfast

Brushing your teeth first thing in the morning is a better practice than brushing your teeth after having the day’s first meal. One primary reason is the built-up bacteria when you are asleep at night.

At night, when our mouths are more dehydrated, bacteria production increases. The morning breath and sticky feeling are a result of those bacteria. Some people don’t mind waiting with bad breath a little longer, but what’s vital to know is when we eat our meals in the morning, especially ones containing sugar, the bacteria produce tooth-decaying acid.

Most people have high-sugar breakfasts: plates and bowls full of bread, cereal, and pancakes. Plaque-producing bacteria may weaken your gum and tooth enamel. Similarly, if you are someone who loves coffee, grape juice, or any other acidic beverage, you may want to brush your teeth before your high-carb, acidic breakfast!

Furthermore, since saliva production is slow at night, you may want to wash out the bacteria as soon as possible so your teeth are less prone to cavities and decay. Proper saliva production in your mouth protects your teeth and gum from infections when bacteria are present.

If you think breakfast just ruined the fresh feeling in your mouth, you can lightly brush it again or just rinse it off your mouth with a good mouthwash to get rid of any food debris and aftertaste.

Brushing After Breakfast

If you are okay with the morning breath and hate the minty palate when enjoying your breakfast, you might still want to brush your teeth after breakfast. Be careful not to brush right after you eat your meal in such a situation. You’ll also want to avoid certain foods that may cause the bacteria in your mouth to produce harmful waste products.

Dentists recommend you wait 30 to 60 minutes before brushing after eating any meal, including breakfast. Waiting an hour could benefit your dental health if you usually have more acidic meals. Raw coffee, orange juice, soda, bread, or cereal are high in sugar and acid.

If you have breakfasts that are higher in fiber and protein, waiting to brush your teeth till after breakfast may be passable. Even then, it is recommended that you chew a piece of sugar-free gum or gulp down some water before brushing your teeth to remove food particles and restore the protective barrier on the surface of your teeth.

Related reading: Do Teeth Whitening Strips Expire

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I brush my teeth if I practice intermittent fasting and eat OMAD (one meal a day)?

You are not snacking every other hour while eating just one meal daily. Besides, you probably also steer away from high sugary food. In that case, you may brush an hour or two after your meal.

Whether you eat at night or in the morning, bacteria are most likely to build up when you are asleep. When doing OMAD, brushing after the meal with a 1 to 2 hours gap is most beneficial. If you want your mouth to feel fresh and smell great, you may also want to brush in the morning. For that, switch to a sugar free option if you are on a strict fasting routine.

Conclusion

Whether you brush your teeth before or after breakfast shouldn’t make much difference as long as you brush your teeth at least twice a day. Remember, twice is the minimum, according to American Dental Association!

If healthy gums and refreshing breath right after you wake up is your priority, pre-meal brushing is the best choice. It’s also okay to wait and brush after the meal but watch out for the bad guys – sugary and acidic meals.