Oral Health and Breakfast

Must You Choose Between Them?

Most of us grew up with the saying, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” Interestingly, that line started out as an advertising campaign for a dry cereal company. The science behind it was therefore questionable. Since then, scrutinizing research has revealed no significant benefit to your well-being, let alone your oral health, by prioritizing breakfast over other meals.

There are, however, plenty of documented studies showing the benefits of brushing your teeth twice a day, and flossing daily. Therefore, most people choose to brush their teeth once in the morning and once in the evening. So the importance of brushing your teeth definitely stands true, and thus many opt for the brush instead of the breakfast. Does this make you one of our Placerville patients that asks, “Should I break with breakfast altogether?”

Basically, we all need to eat. And we all need teeth to eat properly, so it’s vital we take care of them. Combine these thoughts and you realize that both eating and brushing your teeth are important to your health and do not need to be mutually exclusive.

Taking Turns in the Morning

Some people brush their teeth as soon as they get up in the morning, and then eat breakfast. These clients tend to object to bringing “morning breath” to the table. Not wanting to ruin their fresh breath afterward, they then forego breakfast completely. If this leads to snacking all morning until lunch, however, and then you don’t brush your teeth after lunch, the end result may be worse for your hygiene! So, consider this routine as an alternative:

  • Brush twenty to thirty minutes before breakfast. This eliminates the nightly plaque and bacteria buildup that causes morning breath. The fluoride in your toothpaste also reinforces your tooth enamel, and the 20-minute interim between brushing and eating allows that reinforcement to stabilize.
  • Dig in! Enjoy whatever you prefer for breakfast, but the healthier the better. (Make sure to follow any guidelines provided by your diet.) If your breakfast regularly includes coffee or tea, be careful of staining your teeth.
  • After your meal, rinse your mouth  with water. This counteracts the staining tannins in your meal and dislodges any food particles, so they aren’t left behind for bacteria to feed on. This might be a good time to rinse with mouthwash, giving you a minty fresh aftertaste to enjoy throughout your morning.
  • A final thought is this: switch to brushing your teeth after breakfast. It works great for single people or households where worries about early morning bad breath are non-existent.

With a little rearranging, we can have our breakfast and eat it too, while still maintaining a good routine of oral hygiene. If you use other routines to accomplish both morning tasks (or have preferred breakfast cuisines), we’d love to hear about them! List them here for discussion in the comments section below, or bring up the topic at your next routine checkup with the Placerville Dental Group.


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