Updated on February 22, 2024
3 min read

Should You Brush Your Teeth Before or After Breakfast?

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Though it seems counterintuitive, brushing your teeth before breakfast has more benefits. It helps remove plaque buildup from the previous night and safeguards your enamel with a protective coating that reduces food acid damage.

Many dental professionals recommend that you brush your teeth before breakfast. However, if you prefer brushing after breakfast, wait 30 to 60 minutes before doing so.

In addition, the American Dental Association (ADA) advises brushing your teeth twice daily for two minutes. Most people brush their teeth once in the morning and again at night.

father and little son enjoying a tooth brush time together

Why Should You Brush Teeth Before Breakfast?

Brushing your teeth before breakfast has several benefits, including:

  • Plaque control — Bacteria, which causes plaque, builds up in your mouth while you sleep. Brushing first thing in the morning removes it.
  • Enamel protection — Brushing before breakfast coats your enamel and protects your teeth from the acids in many foods and drinks.
  • Saliva production — Brushing your teeth jumpstarts saliva production, which helps with digestion throughout the day.

Brushing before breakfast does have its drawbacks. You’ll leave food particles on your teeth after breakfast. Eating acidic foods for breakfast without brushing after can also damage teeth over time.

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What if You Eat Breakfast Before Brushing Your Teeth?

Eating breakfast before brushing your teeth is fine, though it’s not as beneficial. Though there are benefits to brushing before breakfast, what matters is brushing twice a day.

Always wait 30 to 60 minutes after breakfast before brushing, especially if you eat citrus fruits or drink juice. Highly acidic fruits and drinks can weaken enamel and cause it to wear away quicker if you brush too soon after eating or drinking. 

Brushing your teeth after breakfast will remove food particles and freshen your breath. However, it’s not as effective as brushing your teeth before breakfast because:

  • It makes saliva less effective in buffering against food acids
  • It offers no pre-meal protection for your enamel
  • It leaves bacteria that built up overnight in your mouth

If you brush after breakfast, always wait at least 30 minutes after eating.

Will Brushing Your Teeth Before Breakfast Fix Morning Breath?

Brushing teeth before breakfast may alleviate morning breath, but it won’t prevent it. Morning breath is the presence of bad breath when you wake up. 

Different factors may cause morning breath, such as:

  • Dry mouth — Also known as xerostomia, dry mouth occurs when your salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva. Brushing your teeth first thing in the morning can help jumpstart saliva production.
  • Poor oral hygiene — Your oral hygiene routine before bed is vital. Brush your teeth before bed and don’t eat or drink anything after. You may also want to rinse with mouthwash and use a tongue scraper.
  • Tobacco use — Smoking or using tobacco can contribute to morning breath. Reducing or eliminating tobacco will help improve bad breath.

Tips to Protect Your Teeth in the Morning

Brushing your teeth regularly isn’t the only way to improve oral health in the morning. You can also protect your teeth and promote healthy habits with these tips:

  • Neutralize acids with water — You can drink or rinse with water right after eating to neutralize the effect of any acids. Water doesn’t replace the benefits of brushing, but it can complement them.
  • Chew sugar-free gum — Chewing sugar-free gum after you eat may have a positive impact. It promotes saliva production and reduces your risk of tooth decay.7
  • Choose the right breakfast foods — Some foods can neutralize acid naturally. Whole grain cereals, fruit smoothies, yogurt, and eggs may promote healthier teeth.

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More Reading


Most dental health experts recommend brushing your teeth before eating breakfast. This protects your tooth enamel and washes away plaque-causing bacteria that build up in your mouth overnight. 

However, what matters most is that you do brush your teeth, not when. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing for two minutes twice a day, but they don’t specify the best time for brushing.

If brushing your teeth after breakfast encourages you to brush daily, that’s fine. Brushing after breakfast removes food particles and freshens breath. Simply wait 30 to 60 minutes after eating to brush.

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Last updated on February 22, 2024
6 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 22, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Brushing Your Teeth.  American Dental Association, 2023.
  2. Basics of Oral Health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2023.
  3. Oral Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2023.
  4. Dental Health.” MedlinePlus, National Library of Medicine, 2015. 
  5. Oral Health. World Health Organization, 2023.
  6. Chewing Gum.” American Dental Association, 2023.
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