Is your morning routine damaging your teeth?

Everyone's morning routine differs. Some may go for a run as soon as they're up; others don't get dressed until after breakfast. Brushing your teeth can fit anywhere in your routine. It is generally agreed that you should spend two minutes brushing your teeth in the morning, but should you do this before or after breakfast to keep your teeth healthy?  

Should you brush after you eat?

This makes sense. You brushed your teeth before going to sleep and you haven't eaten during the night, so there's no point in cleaning your teeth which, in theory, are already clean.

Sugar is in everything, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. People need those natural sugars in food to stay healthy. But sugars, natural or not, stick to your teeth and get stuck between or on your gums. The natural and healthy bacteria that exists in your mouth then feeds off this sugar, which in turn eats away at the protective enamel on your teeth resulting in decay.

There is an argument that if you don't brush after you've eaten breakfast that the bacteria will be able to feed off those sugars until you next brush your teeth at lunchtime, or bedtime, increasing the risk of tooth decay.

 So, if you brush before breakfast you'll get tooth decay. Except that the science doesn't quite agree.  

Should you brush before you eat?

It isn't as simple as just saying that the bacteria feeds off the sugar on your teeth increasing the risk of tooth decay. That same bacteria also raises the level of acid in your mouth every time you eat. And that acid has the potential to damage your teeth, which is exactly what happens if you brush straight after eating.

If you are going to brush straight after eating, you need to wait at least 30 minutes for your saliva to naturally wash away the excess acid and for your teeth to harden again.

However, if you brush before eating breakfast then you're removing any existing bacteria and sugars from your mouth before eating and adding to it. Because this lessens the amount of acid your mouth will naturally produce after eating, your risk of tooth decay also decreases.

Plus, your teeth enamel will be hard before you eat because there hasn't been any foodstuffs or acid production to soften them while you were asleep. So there's less risk of damaging your teeth while brushing.  

So for healthy teeth and a fresh start to the day, clean your teeth before breakfast and keep tooth decay at bay.

Talk with a dentist at a clinic like Daisy Hill Dental if you have specific questions about your oral hygiene routine.