Return To Blog

Before or After Breakfast: Brushing Your Child’s Teeth

The New York Times posted an article “Is It Better to Brush Your Teeth Before Breakfast or After?” on November 1, 2022.  

I loved reading this article because I have wondered this same question throughout my life.  During my years of dental education and training I heard much of the debate highlighted in this article.  Allow me to begin by saying that I see both sides of the argument in this article and all points are valid.  There is definitely more bacteria in our mouth after we wake up that, in an ideal world, would not be present when we are feeding ourselves, and our children, the carbohydrates we eat during breakfast.  However, getting a good brush in after breakfast to remove the bacteria that accumulated in our mouth overnight, to get rid of any residual food debris and to apply fluoride to our teeth surfaces does make brushing after breakfast a logical choice.

In my opinion, the argument is tilted towards brushing after breakfast, which is why that is what we do in my family.  That being said, my real concern is that we are brushing at least once before we go about our daily activities.  If your mornings are so hectic that you worry that you may forget to brush before you leave, then make it a priority when you first roll out of bed.  I am a creature of habit, and we all are to a certain extent.  Make that habit and stick to it.  As far as this argument is concerned, don't get too bogged down in the details of timing, just make sure it happens at least once before leaving for the day and then again before going to bed.  Brushing your teeth after dinner or at the end of the day is just as important as brushing in the morning.  Brushing twice a day, and flossing once a day, are habits to encourage for yourself and your children.  Doesn’t much matter when it occurs, before or after breakfast or before and after dinner, as long as it happens.  Happy brushing and happy holidays!

Dr. Nick