Ask the Dentist – What is the best way to brush your teeth?

Dr Shruthi Dayal

What is the best way to brush your teeth?

– by Dr Shruthi Dayal

Most people are knowledgeable about the American Dental Association‘s recommendation of brushing your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes. However, what the guidelines don’t specify is when exactly to do your brushing. A common question I get asked is, “Is it better to brush before or after I eat?”

For sake of habit many people brush their teeth at the same time every day, but experts say brushing before you eat is more beneficial for your teeth long term. Brushing with fluoridated toothpaste before eating has three main advantages. It gets rid of the plaque that accumulates overnight, it creates a protective barrier against acids in your food, and it stimulates your saliva flow.

There is one precaution you should know if you are brushing your teeth after you eat. Everytime we eat, the pH in our mouth lowers creating an acidic environment. Brushing when your mouth is in this state does more damage to your enamel. The American Dental Association recommends you wait 60 minutes after eating before you brush, especially if you are ingesting acidic foods. You can drink water or chew some sugar-free gum after eating to clean your teeth before you brush.

While brushing before you eat is more protective of your enamel. Brushing your teeth, whenever you are able to do it, is still better than skipping it altogether!