I have generally only brushed my teeth once-a-day, before going to bed.

My dentist has advised to start brushing twice a day, adding "immediately in the morning" to my dental routine.

I don't eat breakfast in the morning, and told the dentist that, and they confirmed that first thing in the morning was still the recommendation.

I didn't press them more, but now wish that I had done so.

I would have assumed that (generally speaking) brushing at 12-hourly intervals would be the more beneficial than brushing twice, 8 hours apart, and then not brushing for 16 hours.

Since I go to bed at ~11:30pm, therefore if I'm going to brush again, and I don't eat breakfast, then I'm better off brushing around 11:00am, or just before lunch.

I can see 2 possibilities for why that might not be the case:

  • Physiological: Sleep does something to the mouth, that means it's beneficial to clean it immediately after waking.

  • Psychological: In practice, people are more successful at adding steps to a morning routine, so if they're told to do it 1st-thing, then they're more likely to actually do it. Hence, if I think I can reliably do it in the late morning, then I should do that, instead.

The latter seems very likely to be true.

But is the former option also true?

Is there any medical significance to brushing your teeth after waking up, if you're not going to eat until lunch?

1 Answer 1


The NHS says (emphasis mine)

Brush your teeth for about 2 minutes last thing at night before you go to bed and on 1 other occasion every day.

They don't specifically stipulate as soon as you get up or after breakfast, but brushing in the morning is important because

during the night, the formation of plaque is mostly undisturbed. Brushing after each meal is also endorsed by many dentists.

However, be careful when you brush. It is best to brush after meals, but the British Oral Health Foundation says:

Every time you eat or drink anything acidic, the enamel on your teeth becomes softer for a short while, and loses some of its mineral content. Your saliva will slowly cancel out this acidity in your mouth and get it back to its natural balance.
Wait for at least one hour after eating or drinking anything acidic before brushing your teeth. This gives your teeth time to build up their mineral content again.

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

Whenever you brush your teeth, don't rinse your mouth with water after because you will rinse away the fluoride provided by the toothpaste used, flushing away the preventative nature of toothpaste.

  • 2
    That's a rather rude comment, @Strawberry. Also, innacurate.
    – IconDaemon
    Jan 13, 2020 at 20:02
  • @IconDaemon I liked the accuracy of your spelling of inaccurate ;) ps; it looks like Strawberry agreed with your point - perhaps this post would benefit from your re-posting your comment as a helpful reference supporting the answer?
    – Caius Jard
    Jan 13, 2020 at 21:30
  • 1
    I have brushed my teeth all my life. My son, who is 30 years old, has more or less never brushed his teeth. What I don’t understand is why I have lousy teeth with occasional bad breath, while my son has not one filling in his teeth and never has bad breath. What is going on here? Am I brushing away some protective coating, or what? Jan 14, 2020 at 10:39
  • @Constantthin - You will need to consult your dentist for possible reasons which can be many Jan 14, 2020 at 11:05
  • @CaiusJard Grrr. Autcorect fayled me againe.
    – IconDaemon
    Jan 14, 2020 at 12:03

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