Before or After Eating? Here’s When You Should Brush Your Teeth

A man, woman, and little girl brushing their teeth.
Viktoriia Hnatiuk/Shutterstock

Everyone has a different morning routine. Hopefully, they all include brushing your teeth, but does it matter when you do it? According to one dental professional, it most certainly does.

Generally, people either brush their teeth before or after they eat breakfast. Some people can’t stand morning breath, while others want to make sure their morning meal and coffee get scrubbed away.

As it turns out, when you should brush has more to do with what you eat, not when you eat. Madison Kaplan, a dental hygienist, told CNET that brushing after breakfast to get rid of food particles that could create bacteria is a good idea, but there are some caveats.

Much of this has to do with the enamel on your teeth. Those who normally have acidic foods or beverages for breakfast, like grapefruit, coffee, or orange juice, should consider brushing beforehand. Yes, orange juice post minty toothpaste tastes gross, but if you brush afterward, you run the risk of damaging your enamel.

“Even though enamel is one of the hardest structures of your body, most similar to the calcium content in our bones, the physical action of brushing can weaken the tooth structure,” Kaplan said. “The bristles rub the acid into the porous enamel of the teeth, which can cause permanent damage over time.”

Not willing to chug your OJ with the lingering taste of toothpaste? Then, waiting one hour before brushing is recommended to prevent damaging the enamel.

You can check out more oral health tips over on CNET.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »

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