The importance of brushing your teeth regularly for good oral health can’t be overstated—it’s essential for preventing bad breath, cavities, plaque buildup, and gum disease.
Good oral hygiene also reduces your risk for developing other health issues, such as inflammation, infections, and heart disease.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing at least twice a day for two full minutes. This generally means brushing once in the morning and again at night before going to sleep.
But does it matter specifically what time you brush your teeth? Should you brush before or after breakfast? Should you brush more than twice a day?
Brush Before Breakfast
It is generally recommended that you brush your teeth soon after waking up, before eating anything. Overnight, saliva production slows down, which creates a dry environment in your mouth that is more susceptible to bacteria growth.
So, brushing before eating breakfast helps to remove any bacterial buildup that may have occurred while you were sleeping—before you consume any food that may feed the bacteria and lead them to proliferate even more.
Brushing After Eating
Each time you eat some food, the bacteria in your mouth can start to feed on the debris that is left behind in your mouth. As they do, they can produce metabolites that erode your enamel and lead to cavities and tooth decay.
Your saliva helps to naturally rinse away some of this debris and neutralize the acid, but you’ll need a full brushing to really remove all the plaque and germs.
However, you should wait at least 60 minutes after eating before brushing your teeth, as acidic foods can temporarily soften your enamel, and brushing too soon can cause damage.
Brushing Before Sleep
Brushing your teeth again before you go to bed is also important, as it helps to remove any bacteria or food debris that may have been accumulating in your mouth throughout the day.
Any little bit of food stuck between your teeth, or any residue left on the surface of your teeth, is a meal for billions of microorganisms that will have all night to multiply and cause damage to your teeth.
A thorough brushing (and flossing) before bedtime is key to preventing this buildup and ensuring good oral health.
Other Tips For Excellent Oral Hygiene
In addition to brushing your teeth at least twice a day, here are some additional tips for excellent oral hygiene:
● Brush for at least 2 full minutes each time.
● Also brush your tongue and gums.
● Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
● Replace your toothbrush every 3–4 months.
● Floss between all of your teeth daily, as this removes plaque buildup between your teeth and along the gum line that brushing can’t reach.
● Use an antimicrobial mouthwash to help reduce plaque and eliminate bacteria.
● Visit your dentist regularly for checkups, professional cleanings, and any other treatments that may be needed.
If you have any questions or concerns about your teeth or oral hygiene, consult with your dentist or primary doctor for personalized guidance.