We understand. Sometimes, at the end of long day, all you want to do is crawl into bed and fall asleep. But what about your teeth? Everyone knows that you’re supposed to brush your teeth before bed and in the morning – how bad is it, really, if you forget the evening ritual every once in a while?
The Short Answer
It actually doesn’t really matter when you brush your teeth, as long as you’re brushing twice in a 24-hour period.
What’s Going On In Your Mouth?
Between brushings, a film of plaque is continually building, feeding off the bacteria that live in your mouth. This film takes about 24 hours to mature and can be identified as that fuzzy feeling in your mouth the morning after you forget to brush.
The bacterium produces acid throughout the day, (even more while eating). Getting rid of the film at least twice per day significantly reduces the risk of the acid byproducts eating into your enamel and causing cavities. The longer the film remains on your teeth and the more food the bacteria has to feed on, the more time you’ll spend with your dentist later on.
If The Timing Doesn’t Matter, Why Do We Brush Before Bed and In the Morning?
Dentists recommend brushing your teeth when you wake up and before you go to sleep for the sake of forming a habit. If we incorporate this activity into our daily lives, we are more likely to have clean, healthy teeth. Not to mention — morning breath can be a beast. Brushing before bed is just as much for your partner as it is for your oral health.
The Ideal Time to Brush
Actually, brushing your teeth in the period between dinner and bedtime is ideal. This is because it gives the fluoride in your toothpaste extra time to strengthen your teeth and form a barrier against acid before you go to sleep.
BUT don’t head to the bathroom right after you’ve finished dinner. After eating, the acid from the food you consumed has weakened your enamel and brushing right afterward may remove some of the enamel from the surface of your teeth. Instead, wait about an hour after dinner to brush.