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Home>Oral Health>The Best Time to Brush Teeth

The Best Time to Brush Teeth

Around 6 out of 10 people in the U.S. brush their teeth before sleep or after waking up. Contrary, 38% of Americans brush their teeth after the morning meal; 17% brush their teeth after lunch, and 21% after dinner.

Most of you know that brushing must be done twice a day but do you know the best time to do it? In the morning? Before breakfast? After breakfast? Before bed or after every meal? Stay tuned as the answers to all these questions lie within this article.

Brushing Teeth Before Breakfast

Brushing Teeth Before Breakfast

Brushing teeth in the morning is imperative to good oral hygiene. But brushing teeth before breakfast contributes to better oral care with the added benefits which are as follows:

1. Get Rid of the Noxious Morning Breath:

 Foul-smelling breath is because of the plaque and bacteria that build up overnight. If plaque is not removed and the morning meal is consumed, it would lead to enamel etching (i.e. enamel will roughen) with time. Brushing teeth before breakfast will prevent such hazards from happening. For effective plaque removal, dentists prescribe rechargeable electric toothbrushes. This modern piece of technology not only saves teeth but also saves time. Companies like FOSOO are well known for their innovation and advancements in electric brushes.

2. Protection of Enamel from Harmful Acids:

The enamel becomes prone to decay if brushing is not done before breakfast. Part of this is because of the acidic foods (bread, juices, etc.) which are consumed in the morning by most of the US population. To prevent such happening brushing must be done immediately after waking up.

3. Jump-starts Saliva Production:

Studies have shown that saliva production increases when brushing is done first thing in the morning. Increased saliva leads to an increase in the “washing action” i.e. washing of sugar-rich particles from the mouth into the stomach. Furthermore, increased saliva leads to increased pellicle formation (thin layer of saliva) on the enamel. This prevents the acid to cause damage to the enamel. Moreover, increased saliva also contributes to the remineralization (hardening) of the enamel. All of the above result in decreased bacterial adherence on the enamel surface leading to increased resistance to dental decay.

Brushing Teeth After Breakfast:

There are certain downsides associated with brushing teeth after breakfast. Acidic food and drinks consumed in the morning by most of the US population include; pastries, coffee, bread, orange and pineapple juice, citrus fruits, and dry fruits. All these harm the enamel.

After breakfast, some remnants of acidic food stick to the enamel surface covered in plaque. This contributes to the weakening of the enamel which could gradually lead to decay. Therefore, brushing teeth after breakfast is not recommended.

If you still choose to brush your teeth after breakfast then American Dental Association (ADA) recommends a wait of 60 minutes.

In addition, it’s better to adhere to the following instructions if this choice is made: • Drink more water • Less or no caffeine in the morning • Use of xylitol gums after the morning meal

Brushing in the Morning Vs Brushing at Night:

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Delta Dental conducted a survey that showed some surprising results. Statistical results showed that 29% of Americans brush their teeth once a day. If you are one of the 29%, then you might be wondering about the effective time to brush your teeth; the morning or night.

Morning brushing will remove the plaque effectively which was built overnight, thereby, preventing multiple oral hazards. Along with the added benefits of fresh breath and bacteria removal, morning brushing will give you a feeling of freshness with a boost in your morning tasks.

Make it clear that brushing teeth “twice” is mandatory and there is no shortcut or escape. Both the times are equally important for healthy gums and teeth. If you’re getting late for work or you’re in a hurry to attend a relative’s dinner, try using a sonic clean toothbrush in an attempt to remove plaque quickly and effectively.

Night brushing has multiple benefits which include:

1. Decrease in mouth acid:

Acid is continuously produced in the mouth. This happens because the sugar present on the teeth is converted to acid by the oral bacteria. At night, saliva production is low. This leads to increased adherence of sugars on teeth resulting in increased acid production. Night brushing washes away the sugars, thus, decreasing the mouth acid.

2. Inhibits bacterial survival:

Bacteria feed on the sugars present on the teeth and eventually contribute to decay. Removal of bacteria is very important for a healthy dentition. At night there is increased multiplication of the bacterial flora due to less saliva. Thus, brushing teeth at night solves a major chunk of the problem.

3. Resistance to tooth decay:

Night brushing forms a layer of fluoride on the enamel surface. This layer protects the tooth from bacteria and makes it resistant to dental decay.

Best Time of Brushing Teeth: A Dentist’s Perspective

Dr. Jack Gruber, a well-known periodontist of New York, said:

“The best time to brush one’s teeth is when you have the time to do it effectively.”

Upon further inquisition Dr. Gruber highlighted the following points:

• Plaque forms a nest, in 24 hours, on the teeth.
• Brushing after every meal is “over brushing” which is not healthy.
• Certain foods can acid etch the enamel.
• By brushing the softened enamel, you will cause more damage.

The bottom line is if you brush twice a day and floss, at least, once a day you’re keeping your mouth as healthy as it can be.


ADA recommended time for tooth brushing is twice a day. This must be done right after waking up in the morning (i.e. before breakfast) and at night, before bed. Moreover, the best time to brush is when you have time to do it correctly and effectively for two minutes.

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