When is the Right Time for Brushing: Before or After Meals?

When it comes to taking the utmost care of our gum and teeth, there is no alternative to brushing. Ask a kid and even he or she will explain you the importance of brushing twice a day – once in the morning after getting out of bed and once at night before going to bed. Now the question is, should you prefer brushing before the meals or after it? There are experts who keep emphasizing on how brushing before eating or drinking can sometimes play a major role in maintaining your oral health. And then there are people, who believe that there is no point in brushing beforehand as brushing after meals is crucial and can’t be ignored at any cost. So, what should you actually do? Let’s decode:

When is the Right Time for Brushing: Before or After Meals?

Why to Brush Before Meals?

Morning is the time when you always need to brush before having your meals. Starting your day with brushing is known to have immense positive effects on our oral hygiene. Here, we are telling you why you must brush your teeth prior to gorging on your yummy breakfast foods:

When we eat or drink something containing sugar, the oral bacteria starts to metabolize them immediately into acids and creates a biofilm inside our mouth cavity. As our salivary flow goes down at night, this bacterial biofilm grows up and gets ready to work on more sugars right in the morning.  If we do not clear this out before having our breakfast, the bacteria will soak up more sugars and produce more acids, thereby causing severe oral cavities. It has also been proved that the levels of calcium become the lowest in our saliva in the morning than any other time of the day. It makes our teeth more prone to demineralization or acidic damages.

But if we brush before eating or drinking anything in the morning, our salivary flow returns to normal and the fluoride content of the toothpaste acts as a buffer for our teeth, thereby providing protection to them from demineralization throughout the day.

When is the Right Time for Brushing: Before or After Meals?

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Why to Brush After Meals?

Be it bedtime or any other part of the day excluding morning, it is always good to brush your teeth after having the meals. The simplest logic behind it is that removing food particles, stuck in between the teeth, right after eating can prevent bacteria build-up, which results into lesser cavities. But if you want to go deeper into the fact, read on below:

As said earlier, sugary food substances (especially those which are liquid or sticky by nature) are metabolized into acids by oral bacteria as soon as they are introduced in the mouth. There are many other cariogenic substances present in our foods, which are also pretty much acidic. Therefore, when we consume such things, the overall pH of our mouth drops significantly (it can go down up to 2.5 from the standard level i.e. 7). Moreover, it doesn’t become normal anywhere soon. This softens the hard enamel part of our teeth through demineralization and makes them weak. In fact, experts have shown that most of us start experiencing the demineralization of teeth as soon as the pH of our mouth hits 5.5. Hence, too much acid makes out teeth highly vulnerable to decay.

However, it is not at all recommended to brush your teeth right after having your meals as it may accelerate the process of acidic damages and endanger your teeth even more. As the oral pH takes time to recover fully, the practice of brushing immediately after eating or drinking can lead to toothbrush abrasion as well as acute sensitivity of teeth. So, what can you do to counterbalance the effects of bacterial as well as food acids?


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Wait for 30 minutes to 60 minutes after your teeth are exposed to acids and then, brush them with a good fluoride toothpaste. The mentioned time span will bring the pH of your mouth cavity down to normal and the soft enamel of your teeth will turn harder once again. As a result, you will not end up amplifying oral damages any more. If you want some instant relief, go for a slight cleaning of your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash right after having meals.

Few Important Tips to Remember:

Now, here are some important points that you must remember for ensuring the maximum health and protection of your teeth and gum:

  • You can try a toothpaste free of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), if the taste of your regular paste irritates you.
  • Dry or wet brushing simply with a toothbrush can be enough for cleaning your teeth and gum, but it will not at all introduce fluoride in your mouth.
  • Do not take more than a dime-sized amount of toothpaste for each application.

Hope the information helps you brush your teeth the right way and take great care of your teeth and gum.

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About the author


A digital media professional, an ardent beauty lover and a passionate foodie - this is what describes Nilankeeta in a nutshell. She is in a serious relationship with music and can't think of a life without family, friends, and online shopping. When not working on projects or experimenting with foods or humming a new tune, you can find her relishing sarcastic stories saturated in humor and wit.