Does timing actually matter when it comes to brushing our teeth? Yes, it turns out the order in which we perform our morning rituals can impact the health of our teeth over the long haul. Other than getting rid of “morning breath”, another reason to brush before breakfast is that many of the foods consumed during breakfast, such as oranges and grapefruits, are acidic and can weaken the tooth enamel. Brushing too soon after eating them can damage the enamel in its weakened state. Even though enamel is strong, brushing acid-softened enamel will wear it down over time.
The Mayo Clinic recommends that you should wait at least 30 minutes before brushing if you’ve consumed anything acidic to avoid damaging the enamel in its weakened state. However, if you are pressed for time and don’t have 30 minutes to wait before brushing, drink a glass of water and/or rinse with water to wash away the acids. Also, consider foods that are less acidic and foods that are higher in calcium, which are better for, and gentler on, your teeth. This includes yogurts, cheeses, spinach and chia seeds, which are items that also happen to be braces-friendly. Other tips about brushing:
- always use a soft or extra soft-bristled toothbrush (important to avoiding tooth abrasion and gum recession)
- brush with gentle pressure to use the tips of the bristles (important to avoiding tooth abrasion and gum recession)
- brush twice a day (morning and evening), about 2 minutes (important to thoroughly removing plaque and debris from teeth)
- replace your toothbrush about every 3 months
- don’t forget to floss (another topic-stay tuned)!
At the OrthoBee Orthodontics, we are committed to your healthy smile and we love sharing tips for good oral habits. Please share any tips you may have on keeping those pearly whites healthy.
Dr. Bui graduated with honors from the University of California, Irvine, where she received her bachelor’s degree in biology. After traveling to Spain on a Fulbright Scholarship, she continued her academic journey at the renowned Harvard School of Dental Medicine in Boston, where she graduated with top honors with a doctorate in dental medicine. She went on to complete her postgraduate residency at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and became board certified in orthodontics.