Should you brush before or after breakfast?

Should you brush before or after breakfast?

Authored by Muzna Mian


Brushing your teeth — A simple act that we all do everyday, yet there are different ways that people perform this hygienic process. There has long been speculation between dentists, and health professionals and the average individual about when the right time for brushing your teeth should be. But stats have shown 38% of people tend to brush their teeth after breakfast. Many individuals are aware that one should be brushing twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. So the question remains is there a right answer for when one should brush?


Advantages of brushing your teeth before breakfast

Let’s begin by exploring the pros of brushing your teeth before breakfast. When you wake up and yawn you may realize that your breath smells very bad. This is due to the bacteria that began to develop in your mouth overnight while you slept peacefully. After waking up most people make the rational decision of heading to the bathroom and begin to clean their teeth. There are many advantages of doing this, the first being, brushing your teeth will allow you to rinse out your mouth for any bacteria and destroy your morning breath.


In addition, when you are sleeping the bacteria begins to also build up plaque, a yellow substance that continues to increase on your teeth. If you clean your teeth thoroughly when you wake up, it prevents the plaque from hardening and causing more issues which could lead to an unnecessary visit to the dentist. Another common thing to remember is with brushing you should additionally do flossing as it will decrease the likelihood of yellow dried spots on your teeth.

Disadvantages of brushing before breakfast

Some people believe if they brush their teeth before eating they will have to brush again after eating. They believe it is a waste of time and water to do it twice. Many breakfast foods such as breads and cereal tend to leave huge solid particles on the teeth and overtime this transforms into plaque. For this reason many believe if they eat their food and then brush after, they can remove bacteria and plaque left from overnight and breakfast time all in one go.


Another argument presented is that it is more hygienic to leave the house with a cleaned mouth. Multiple people argue that if they brush prior to breakfast they will leave their house with the breakfast foods stuck in their teeth. Additionally they would leave the house with a bad smelling breath. So individuals would rather go to work, school and places with a fresh smelling breath to avoid criticism from the public.

Advantages of brushing your teeth after breakfast

Some people would rather brush after breakfast and there are many supporting reasons as to why this is a beneficial practice. Many people do not enjoy having something stuck in their mouth after eating a large meal. In many cases when patients come to the dentist they have problems with tooth decay. At the time it is usually unclear why this occurred. However, studies have shown that people who brush their teeth prior to breakfast have food left on their teeth after eating and tend to go about their day.


They then brush their teeth at night and by then it’s too late and the food hardens into plaque. This causes tooth decay and many to develop cavities over time. Another reason is the types of food that are eaten. If one eats bread with jam that has a high amount of sugar in it, the sugar can cause bacteria to attack the teeth, which can only be prevented with a proper brushing routine.


Disadvantages of brushing after breakfast

Although brushing your teeth after breakfast has helped many people with their oral health. The brushing needs to be done after an individual waits for a certain amount of time. For example if you eat and drink certain foods such as orange juice, coffee, dried fruit and bread. Since some of these products are acidic you must wait at least 30 minutes before brushing.


For some this may pose a challenge as they have a busy schedule due to school and work times. There could be traffic so one would have to leave early. However, this idea just needs to be kept in mind if an individual wants to brush their teeth after breakfast. If you brush your teeth incorrectly you pose more health problems to your teeth and could get unnecessary cavities and gum diseases.


What is Recommended by Dentist?

In both scenarios it varies on what time the individual is consuming their food. Most dentists recommend brushing your teeth after eating as it will ensure one’s mouth is clean for the full day. However, in other scenarios if one drinks coffee, orange juice or any drink that is acidic they would have to wait about 30 minutes and since some individuals have work and school that would vary due to time. In this scenario dentists recommend brushing your teeth prior to consuming such products.


And if you eat normal breakfast foods such as bread, oatmeal and cereal it is better to brush after eating to clean out the solids. This would reduce the amount of bacteria that could build up overtime. Some individuals question if brushing can be done both before and after eating however, there is the concept of over brushing. If you would like to do this ensure you brush slowly around your teeth to prevent gum recession and gum disease. In order to protect your enamel it is strongly recommended to brush right when you wake up and prior to eating breakfast.



Dentists have made suggestions for certain scenarios and that helps each individual navigate what’s best for them. However, at the end of the day health professionals stress the idea of healthy gums. So brushing teeth can differ for individuals as everyone’s day looks different.


Authored by Muzna Mian



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