Brushing your teeth before or after breakfast is one of those debates where no one is able to provide much concrete evidence to support one side or the other. With that in mind, here are some points to support both sides of the argument to help guide you in making your own decision.
Toothpaste contains fluoride, an important ion that helps prevent cavities by replenishing tooth mineral supply. Brushing before breakfast allows one to supply their teeth with this all important ion right before eating, when it’s needed most. Having a fluoride coating on your teeth can help prevent demineralization of teeth during your breakfast meal. Brushing after breakfast doesn’t have the same effect. At that point, the acidity level of your mouth has already changed due to the food you just ate, and brushing with fluoride won’t have the same effect anymore. If your breakfast consists of highly acidic beverages like orange juice, brushing before breakfast can help reduce some of the effects that the acid has. The goal of brushing before is to remove the overnight plaque buildup in preparation for the morning meal.
Foods that are high in simple carbohydrates and sugar (like breakfast cereals) are what encourage bacteria to grow on teeth. These bacteria will immediately start attacking tooth enamel. Brushing your teeth after eating lets you get rid of this before the bacteria have had much time to act. The change in oral pH levels that consuming food causes can alter the effects that bacteria have on teeth as well. Therefore , some say it’s advisable to wait a while after eating breakfast before brushing your teeth in order to give your saliva a chance to buffer the change. Brushing after breakfast has the added benefit of not interfering with the taste of your morning meal, so that glass of juice can taste more like juice and less like toothpaste
The issue can be considered as being more academic than anything practical. As long as you stick to brushing your teeth twice a day, brushing before or after breakfast is unlikely to cause any major changes. For most people, the decision will come down to what’s most convenient for them. Those who need to get somewhere fast may pick up breakfast on the go, and might be more inclined the brush before leaving the house. If you’re a late starter, you may prefer to better enjoy your breakfast and therefore will brush after. Centennial Smiles stresses one thing: brush your teeth! We don’t care when you do it, as long as it’s getting done!