Brush your teeth twice a day and for two minutes – the mantra we all hear from our dentists.
But exactly when we should brush our teeth is something a lot of us get wrong.
According to the NHS website, we need to brush our teeth for around two minutes at night, right before we sleep, and on one other occasion. This means it does not necessarily have to be in the morning.
If it is in the morning, experts have emphasised that it needs to be before breakfast – not after.
Although it may seem like brushing after breakfast will remove all the debris from your mouth, it actually has the opposite effect.
Let's get to why this is.
When you're sleeping, bacteria in your mouth multiplies. Brushing this out with a fluoride toothpaste is the best way to protect your teeth from acids and, in the long run, plaque.
One study suggested that brushing first thing can actually jump start saliva production. For example, study participants saw their saliva production jump for up to five minutes after brushing.
Saliva is essential for breaking down food and killing unwanted bacteria.
Decay and discolouration
But why can't you do this after breakfast?
Dental experts will advise you to refrain from brushing your teeth for at least 30 minutes after eating. Brushing straight after eating breakfast could actually further cover your teeth in the acids produced, rather than get rid of them.
Some experts have previously compared it to scrubbing a cleaning product on enamel. While the latter is very strong, brushing enamel softened by the acid will wear it down.
This can lead to discoloured teeth, as well as decay.
A healthier and safer way to get that fresh feeling immediately after eating is drinking water or chewing a piece of sugar-free gum.