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When Are the Best Times to Brush Your Teeth?

Brush your teeth in the morning and at night
Read Time: 3 minutes
Nov 14, 2022

It’s recommended that you brush your teeth twice a day for optimal oral health. However, how frequently you do it isn’t the only factor you need to keep in mind. When you brush your teeth is also important. Dentists typically recommend that you brush your teeth in the morning and in the evening.

When in the Morning Should You Brush Your Teeth?

a black woman brushing her teeth in the morning

The exact time in the morning doesn’t matter; you just need to brush your teeth prior to eating breakfast. While brushing before you eat may seem counterintuitive, the most important thing is to brush your teeth right when you get up in the morning.

Why Should You Brush Your Teeth Before Breakfast?

The reason you should brush your teeth first thing when you wake up is that bacteria has been building up on your teeth all throughout the night. While you’re asleep, your mouth doesn’t produce as much saliva as it would while you’re awake. Saliva is actually what helps to wash away food particles, plaque, and bacteria during the day, so more bacteria can build up while you’re sleeping.

Why Is Brushing Your Teeth After Breakfast a Bad Idea?

Brushing after breakfast even has detriments beyond missing out on the benefits of brushing before. If you ate or drank something acidic, this weakens your teeth, so brushing right after can actually cause harm. This is especially bad because there are many common breakfast items, such as eggs, dairy, fruit, juice, and coffee, that are acidic.

When in the Evening Should You Brush Your Teeth?

a father and son both wearing pajamas brushing their teeth together in a bathroom

Just as with brushing in the morning, the exact time you brush your teeth in the evening doesn’t matter very much. You just need to brush your teeth before you go to sleep, preferably as close to that time as possible so that your teeth are as clean and fresh as possible prior to going to bed. Once you’ve brushed your teeth, though, it’s important not to eat or drink anything except for water.

Why Can’t You Eat Anything After Brushing Your Teeth in the Evening?

The reason you shouldn’t eat anything after brushing your teeth at night is that you want to avoid adding any sugar to your mouth. Sugar helps bacteria to grow faster and you’ll already have more growing in your mouth at night due to decreased saliva production. Anything other than water would help this bacteria to thrive, increasing the risk of plaque and tartar building up.

Can You Brush Your Teeth Other Times During the Day?

If you want to brush your teeth more than the recommended two times a day, it’s a good idea to talk to your dentist first. This is because brushing your teeth too often or too much could do more harm than good. Your dentist can let you know if they think that brushing more frequently is appropriate for your teeth and gums.

What Is Overbrushing?

Overbrushing is when you brush your teeth either too vigorously or too frequently. Another word for overbrushing is toothbrush abrasion. This is because too much brushing can wear away at the enamel on your teeth. It can also irritate your gums and cause them to recede. Less enamel means a greater risk of tooth decay. Your teeth could also end up being more sensitive.

When Should You Floss Your Teeth?

a black man flossing his teeth while looking in the mirror wearing a white bathrobe

Dentists typically recommend that you floss your teeth at least once a day, but ideally twice a day. This flossing can be done either in the morning or at night if you only floss once, or at both times if you floss twice. Flossing first and then brushing your teeth is generally more effective at removing plaque and food particles from your teeth than the reverse.

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For informational purposes only.