We all know that brushing your teeth is imperative to remove plaque and keep your gums healthy. But do you know exactly when you should be doing the brushing? Should you brush before breakfast, or after? When should flossing enter the picture? And what about mouthwash?
If you’re ready to optimize your oral hygiene routine, you’re in luck: Today, we’re going to dive into the timeline of your tooth care.
Brushing and Breakfast
Do you brush your teeth before you eat breakfast, or after? It turns out, whether you brush before or after your morning meal doesn’t really make a difference in how clean your teeth get. However, there is one thing to keep in mind when it comes to your morning tooth brushing timing: Your enamel.
Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, and its job is protecting your teeth. When you get a toothache, it’s because your enamel has been weakened and decay has found its way into the sensitive inner parts of your teeth. One of the main things that weakens enamel is acid.
That means if you’re eating or drinking acidic things with breakfast, like coffee, orange juice, or grapefruit, you’re actually weakening your enamel. While it might seem like brushing right after eating or drinking something acidic would help, it can actually hurt your teeth to do something so abrasive while they’re in a weakened state. Instead, try rinsing your mouth out with water after acidic foods and drinks, and waiting about thirty minutes to brush afterwards.
What About Floss and Mouthwash?
When it comes to flossing, the timing isn’t nearly as important as the regularity. You could floss directly after your morning brushing, or right before bed, or even after lunch if that’s easiest for you. Choose a time of day that makes the most sense for you, and then make sure to stick to that routine. As long as you can make a habit of it, the time of day that you floss is irrelevant.
The question of whether or not to use mouthwash at all is a hotly debated one. On the one hand, trials have shown that it can help reduce risk of gum disease, and can be an effective part of eliminating plaque. On the other hand, some research has linked mouthwash to oral cancer. But if you like the fresh breath feel that it gives you, it’s probably best to use it after brushing so the effects can stick with you.
As Long As You’re Brushing….
If you were expecting a strict suggested schedule for your oral hygiene routine, don’t be disappointed. Above all, if you’re brushing and flossing regularly at all, you’re leaps and bounds ahead of many Americans. Whatever routines work best for you are usually fine as long as you brush twice a day and floss daily. And don’t forget to make your regular dental checkups.