Brushing our teeth twice daily is a habit that most of us have formed, having been taught from a young age to do so in the morning and in the evening.
So we do understand how often we should brush; but have you ever stopped to think about the importance of when to brush?
Some of us brush as soon as we get up out of bed, before the first meal of the day; others habitually perform a quick brush just before leaving home – usually after eating breakfast.
Which is better?
If you tend to consume acidic substances at breakfast time – like a glass of fruit juice or a coffee, for example – you need to think about the timing of your brushing. Brushing immediately after a high-acid breakfast means you are brushing an enamel surface that has been softened by the acid attack, which can actually damage the enamel, leading to wear and sensitivity.
Studies show that it takes at least half an hour for your saliva to counterbalance the acid attack and restore a neutral pH in the mouth. Therefore if you do choose to brush after breakfast you should ideally wait at least 30 minutes before doing so, which for many people may not be practical.
While waiting for the safe time to brush, rinse with water and chew sugar-free gum to freshen your mouth. If you can’t wait 30 minutes before you brush after breakfast, then it’s best to either take a toothbrush and toothpaste with you when you leave home (or keep these at work) or become one of those people who habitually brush before eating.
In summary: In order to perform best oral health practices, brushing twice daily and flossing at least once a day is best. In order to look after your tooth enamel, wait at least 30 minutes before you brush your teeth if you have just consumed something acidic.