Before you go off to work or school in the morning, it's only natural that you'd prefer your teeth and mouth to look and smell good. After all, a dose of morning breath is not exactly the best way to greet colleagues or classmates. But one area of oral hygiene that is often overlooked is whether or not it is better to brush before or after breakfast. For some people, brushing their teeth is one of the first things they do because they cannot stand the yucky, furry feeling of morning mouth, while others eat breakfast before brushing.
But which is better for your teeth? To find the answer, a little dental education is required.
Oral Bacteria Multiply Overnight
Saliva is your body's first defence against tooth decay. It protects your gums and teeth by neutralizing acidic compounds in foods, it softens food so that it can easily be swallowed and not stick between teeth, and it kills bacteria that cause tooth decay. During the day, the average person produces enough saliva—provided they are well-hydrated—to protect their teeth. However, at night, saliva production is greatly reduced. What does this mean?
Without the natural antibacterial properties of saliva to keep them in check, bacterial organisms multiply overnight. If you are a mouth breather, you may barely have enough saliva to lick a stamp let alone neutralize bacteria. This is what causes morning breath—the huge build up of bacteria overnight. Imagine millions of bacterial organisms, each one releasing a tiny amount of sulphur, and you will understand why morning breath can be so overpowering. But what does this have to do with brushing before breakfast?
Feeding Yourself also Feeds the Bacteria
Throughout the day, as you eat, the bacteria present in your mouth are also partaking of your food. Your saliva contains enzymes that break down starch into sugars as part of the digestive process. The bacteria in your mouth feed off this sugar and then produce acids that erode your enamel. Sweet foods like soft drinks, donuts, cereal, etc, also feed these bacterial organisms. However, during the day, your mouth produces enough saliva—especially during chewing—to combat these bacterial organisms and protect your teeth.
However, in the morning, your saliva production is still fairly low. Not only that, but your mouth is teeming with sugar-hungry, acid-producing bacteria that can't wait to get their jaws into your breakfast. According to Dr. John Featherstone of UCSF (The University of California, San Francisco), within seconds of being exposed to sucrose, a simple sugar, bacterial organisms begin producing acid. Acid erodes enamel and reduces the pH of your saliva, leaving your teeth at the mercy of tooth decay. Now, imagine the damage that the millions upon millions of bacteria that multiplied in your mouth overnight can do to your teeth during breakfast. Brushing before breakfast removes most of those bacterial organisms and stimulates saliva production.
Science doesn't lie. Before eating breakfast in the morning, cleanse the millions of bacteria from your mouth. That way, your teeth won't be bathed in acid, and as an added bonus, your breath will be more pleasant. To learn more, contact your dentist.Share
1 August 2017
Hi! My name is Sarah, and as a busy professional, I understand the importance of making the most of my time. That includes everything from having productive working lunches to making the most of my dental checkups. I have created this blog to help you maximise your dental checkups. In these posts, you can learn how to prepare for your checkup, which questions to ask during your checkup and more. I am also going to have posts explaining why checkups are critical to your dental health as well as the health of your entire body. Happy reading, and thanks for visiting my blog!