Morning Brushing Routine: Should I Brush Before or After Breakfast?


The world of oral health is oddly filled with hot topics and debates surrounding hygiene, diet, and cosmetics. People have varying opinions about oral hygiene, including how we brush and floss our teeth, dental products, and other forms of oral care. Even orthodontics or dental braces have their fair share of debates, including the timing and duration of the treatment.


When it comes to brushing, people have their own beliefs about how they clean their teeth. Morning brushing is something most of us have argued about — brush right after waking up or do it after breakfast. Whichever side you’re on, we understand how you might occasionally feel torn about your brushing habit.

According to the American Dental Association, the recommended duration and timing of brushing the teeth is twice a day for a full two minutes at every brushing session. But the guidelines didn’t state when exactly you should do your brushing. To put an end to the morning brushing debate, we’ll be answering the question of whether you should touch before or after breakfast.

The right timing for morning brushing

Why is timing important when choosing the right time to brush your teeth? The answer lies in acid byproducts and dental plaque. When we sleep, the bacteria that cause plaque multiply. This explains the “morning breath” and why you feel a “mossy” sensation in your mouth every time you wake up.

Eating breakfast without brushing the teeth will cause the plaque to produce more acid byproducts and bacteria. Why? Eating without removing plaque on the teeth increases the risk of cavities and demineralization.

Brushing out the bacteria using fluoride toothpaste removes the bacteria and plaque biofilm that accumulated when you were sleeping. The fluoride will then coat the enamel to serve as a protective barrier from acidic foods.

Others prefer to brush after breakfast to remove the remaining food debris all over the teeth. The problem with this is brushing the teeth after eating will scrub the acids around the mouth. In other words, brushing the teeth after eating something acidic, such as citrus fruits or coffee, harms the tooth enamel. Therefore, experts recommend brushing your teeth for 30 to 60 minutes after breakfast.

Otherwise, if you’re too hurry to brush after eating, swishing water in your mouth for a few minutes will loosen the food particles between the teeth and prevent drinks such as coffee from staining the teeth. The more bacteria and food you flush out, the stronger your oral health will be.

Brushing the teeth after breakfast

If you prefer brushing after breakfast, you can still do so with precautions in mind. Brushing the teeth shortly after breakfast allows the acid from the food particles to cover the teeth, causing them to weaken the enamel. Most of our staple breakfast meals are harming the tooth enamel. These include bread, pastries, orange juice, dried fruit, and citrus fruit. Thus, brushing after breakfast is doing more harm to your teeth.

If your daily breakfast lineup consists of acidic food, waiting 30 to 60 minutes before brushing your teeth would be better. You don’t want to worsen the acid in your mouth by brushing because it will lead to erosion or enamel damage. Thus, it’s better to wait for the acid to neutralize. Following the right timing will allow the fluoride to protect your teeth without tampering with the enamel. While waiting, drink water and chew sugar-free gum right after breakfast to clean your teeth before brushing.

Brushing before and after breakfast.

Brushing teeth before and after breakfast may be beneficial as it removes the icky morning breath and food debris from the first meal. While it’s all right to do this, experts warn to be aware of the risks of over-brushing.

Over-brushing is the surefire way to wear the gums. If you’re serious about brushing before and after breakfast, follow the proper brushing technique to prevent gum recession or gum trauma. Brush in a way that will only remove the bacteria and remaining food particles, so it doesn’t have to be too intense. A great tip is to use the correct toothbrush and apply gentle pressure at a slower brushing pace.

Ultimately, the most important thing is to keep our teeth and gums clean throughout the day. Brushing after waking up can go a long way by protecting your tooth enamel. You can still brush your teeth right after breakfast, but wait 30 to 60 minutes before brushing. Taking the time to clean the teeth regularly can make a big difference in preventing cavities, gum trauma, and food impaction over time.