Ever since we were kids, we know how to brush them teeth definitely twice a day for two minutes and then floss. However, there is always a dilemma: should we brush before or after breakfast to keep our teeth healthy, white, beautiful and clean?
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It really isn’t as simple as we might think, with some dentists being very divided as to what is the best thing to do. Of course, whatever our morning routine is, it would be hard to change our habit now.
Let’s see what the experts say:
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“Brush before breakfast”
Experienced dentist Dr Kunal Patel in a related question told Woman&Home: “It makes sense to brush your teeth before breakfast, as you’ll have a build-up of natural acid in your mouth immediately after eating and run the risk of damaging the enamel if you brush afterwards.”
The colleague of Dr Anjum Maryam Jahan, agrees saying: “If you brush right after eating, you’re effectively brushing away the acid on your teeth that can erode your enamel.”
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Elsewhere, Dr Sameer Patel, clinical director at Elleven Dental Wellness, Harley Street, told the Telegraph: “For tooth decay to start, three things are required: bacteria, sugar and time. At night, you naturally develop plaque. This is, in essence, a sticky film of bacteria. That’s why you don’t wake up with fresh breath. If you don’t brush, introduce sugar into the equation at breakfast.”
Simply put the expert says this provides the perfect condition for wear as all three elements are present. That is, if we brush before breakfast “we eat bacteria-free so we don’t start that caries process.”
An American study says that brushing stimulates the production of saliva, which helps break down food.
And if we brush well before breakfast using mouthwash too, that’s even better news, as this process can help strengthen teeth and prevent tooth decay. A process of protection while we eat. Although other experts aren’t so convinced…
“Brush after breakfast”
Contrary to the opinions mentioned above, some experts believe that we should brush our teeth after breakfast.
Dr Carlos Gonzalez-Cabezas, dentist and professor at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, says: “There are many misconceptions, even among dentists, about this issue. People think brushing is all about removing food and plaque. In fact, it is also an extremely important method of providing fluoride.”
The expert argues that if we brush before breakfast, we will actually remove a lot of this natural mineral while chewing. The doctor says there are many subtleties surrounding the acid that destroys enamel.
“There is a difference between drinking grapefruit juice and eating a piece of grapefruit. When you eat the fruit, you produce a lot of saliva which counteracts this acid, so you don’t have to worry too much. Drink it as a juice and yes, the effect is much more aggressive.”
But what does he think of the idea of removing plaque before we expose our teeth to the full horrors of a sugary breakfast?
“The reality is that 95 percent of people are unable to remove plaque from the areas where cavities develop when they brush.”
He then adds that most people eat their breakfast too quickly, which doesn’t leave much of a window for teeth to wear down. So if we brush right after eating: “immediately remove most of these carbohydrates, plus some of the bacteria, and provide fluoride to prevent demineralization and stimulate remineralization.”
Both opinions are arguable, so should we brush before and after breakfast?
Dr Gonzalez-Cabezas says you should continue as you have learned and consult your doctor. What is important is not to forget the morning brushing as he emphasizes: “It’s hard enough to get people to brush twice a day anyway: once in the morning and once before bed!”
Whichever method you choose, experts agree that brushing in the morning – whether before or after breakfast – is what may ultimately matter as statistics show that many people may skip brushing their teeth.
When should we floss?
Dr Jahan recommends flossing at the end of the day after eating and drinking.
“This is the right time to ensure there are no food particles between the teeth overnight so there is no need to floss again in the morning.”
Should we always brush our teeth between meals?
Dr Patel says no.
“It’s not necessary to brush your teeth between meals, but if you want to refresh your mouth during those times, just rinse your mouth with water.”
In fact, he points out that brushing your teeth between meals could do more harm than good.