Should I Brush My Teeth Before I Eat?

A lot of people brush their teeth right when they wake up in the morning, clearing out the morning breath and freshening their mouth before eating breakfast. Others wait until they eat breakfast to brush their teeth, not wanting to taint the citrus-y orange juice with the taste of minty toothpaste. Whichever camp you find yourself in, the real question is: which way is best?

The answer lies in understanding the equation that produces tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs as acids in the mouth break down the enamel and dentin that make up the teeth. Where do those acids come from? Plaque bacteria in the mouth eat the sugars (not just pure sugar—we are talking any carb) in your mouth, and produce acid. The acid begins to decay the teeth almost instantly, as the acid is produced almost instantly.

Plaque Bacteria + Sugars = Acids (that eat away your teeth)

Understanding the equation leaves the answer up to you: would you rather fight the plaque or fight the sugars? Whichever aspect of the equation you wish to remove with your toothbrush, it comes down to you.

Suggested Reading: 6 Things You Ought to Know About Cavities

Some dentists argue that brushing before you eat is best because acids are formed from plaque + sugar instantaneously, so clearing out the plaque bacteria first prevents decay better than clearing out the food and acids after.

That being said, the “brush after meals” team is much larger because brushing after meals is a more intuitive technique—eat first, then clear out the flavors, food stuffs, acids and bacteria. It leaves your mouth fresher than before you started eating and prevents cavities too.

Maybe this leaves you thinking, “I should just brush before and after I eat.” With that kind of commitment, be careful not to brush within 30 minutes of eating. (Read “ Don’t Brush Your Teeth….Here’s Why”)

Whether or not you brush before or after you eat, you need to be brushing thoroughly. If you decide you are in the “brush before meals” camp, the technique won’t work unless you effectively break up the plaque using proper technique and brush for the full 2 minutes, not missing any part of your mouth.

If you decide to brush after meals, the same rule applies—neither technique will work if you are not thorough and effective in your application. Read the article “ How to Brush with a Manual Toothbrush,” if you are brushing with a manual toothbrush to be sure you are doing so effectively.

The verdict is still out on which habit is better for you. Whichever technique you decide to adopt, be consistent and thorough for best practice. Talk to a Platinum Dental Care dentist for more information, and to find out which camp he sits in.

A favorite dentist in Utah is Dr. Hepworth, a dentist in Lehi. You will have to ask him whether he brushes before or after he eats, but he will certainly brush before you come to your next dental appointment in Lehi. Being the best dentist in Lehi isn’t easy, especially when you are on your way to being the best dentist in Utah. You will have to ask Dr. Hepworth about that too. Platinum Dental Care, a dentist in Utah and a dentist near me, is Utah’s premier oral health provider. If you are looking for Invisalign in Utah, cosmetic dentistry in Utah, or even just a dental exam in Utah, our dentists and staff can help you out. Just give us a call at 801.331.8545.