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Brush Before Breakfast advises the British Dental Health Foundation

Armen Hareyan's picture

Brushing your teeth before you eat breakfast can help to prevent the dental erosion that can wear away your teeth.

A recent survey by the Foundation found that over three-quarters of people ( 81%) were unaware that brushing their teeth after eating acidic food and drink can damage their teeth permanently.

Acidic foods and drinks, such as oranges, grapefruit and fruit juices that are often eaten at breakfast time, soften the enamel on your teeth.

Brushing immediately afterward wears the enamel away, and can cause dental erosion, which may lead to pain and extreme sensitivity in the teeth, and also lead to cosmetic problems.

The saliva in your mouth neutralises the acidity and restores its natural balance. However research has shown that this can take up to an hour.

Over time, regular consumption of acidic food and drink throughout the day can lead to the loss of the surface of your teeth. To avoid dental erosion, the Foundation encourages people to:

  • brush teeth before breakfast if they have fruit or fruit juice, or

  • wait one hour after eating or drinking anything acidic before brushing

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  • use a straw when drinking acidic drinks to reduce contact with teeth

  • drink water and milk between meals in preference to juice and fizzy drinks

  • chew sugar-free gum - this will produce more saliva to help cancel out acid in your mouth

  • finish a meal with cheese or milk to help neutralise any acids

British Dental Health Foundation Chief Executive Dr Nigel Carter said, "Drinks such as fruit juice and fizzy mineral waters are generally considered to be good for your health. However, they can all be bad for your teeth if they're consumed frequently throughout the day and you don't follow a suitable oral care routine."


The public can get free advice and an information leaflet on dental erosion from the Foundation's qualified Dental Helpline team.

The service can be contacted on 0870 333 1188 from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, online at www.dentalhelpline.org.uk or by writing to 2 East Union Street, Rugby, CV22 6AJ " send a sae if you would like to receive a leaflet.



I believe that brushing your teeth before breakfast and not after can only lead to bad breath and more of a chance of erosion. Therefore i brush after and not before. Does this matter? or is it just personal preference?
I think the main problem is that there should be an hour wait after eating to allow the enamel to regain its strength, so it is a bad thing.
Drink a cup of green tea to neutralize acid producing bacteria. Unsweetened of course.
Tea is also an acid.
This question has been raised over and over. Brushing teeth in the morning prior to breakfast is a normal routine for many. However Dentists and other sources dictate that you should not eat food until 30 mins after brushing to enable the enamel to re-harden and PH to normalise. This isn't compatible with our lifestyles in general as we are mostly hectic in the mornings and sitting around for 30 mins after pre-breakfast brushing is simply not an option. The advocates of post breakfast brushing say that they don't like the taste of toothpaste in their mouth when eating breakfast. I've never quite understood this claim as I've never tasted toothpaste when eating breakfast. I can only guess they are brushing, and not rinsing at the end. Dentists recommend spitting out excess toothpaste but not rinsing. I personally rinse with water after brushing as the bacteria and gunk I brushed off my teeth is sitting there and I want it out of my mouth to feel fresh. Either way the argument can be made, we are only told to brush twice a day yet what about all the acid erosion and enamel softening throughout the day? Why shouldn't we brush 3,4,5 times a day? In my opinion, wake up, brush, rinse with water for zero aftertaste, eat breakfast, rinse after breakfast, brush or rinse if possible throughout the day after meals or snacks then brush again before bed.
I always brush my teeth in the morning when i wake up because i dont like my breath and i like to have a fresh mouth before i taste coffee(i feel coffee even tastes better ehehe) its like a ritual in a way. actually i probably brush my teeth more before meals than after. I also always brush before going to bed though or during the day when i feel i want a fresh mouth