Bellingham Dentist

Are You Brushing Your Teeth Right?

Our tooth brushing habits are deeply ingrained in childhood and have not changed much. In fact, for most of us, it’s been like that, and any new research might be ignored or be difficult to get across. If you think about who taught you how to brush your teeth, they probably have dental issues already; and those who taught them, ended up with having no teeth left.

Do you brush your teeth before or after breakfast?

The official NHS advice is to brush your teeth for about two minutes last thing at night before you go to bed and on one other occasion every day. You need to clean your teeth before breakfast. It’s about the pH levels in the mouth. When you eat breakfast and introduce acidic foods, like orange juice or sugary cereal, the acid attack leaves teeth more vulnerable for about an hour afterwards. Brushing beforehand means your teeth have that extra protection against decay before you eat.


Using an interdental brush or flossing before cleaning with a toothbrush is recommended. You clean only 60% of your teeth (the surfaces) when you brush. The remaining 40% are between your teeth, so expect bacteria to be left there. An interdental brush such as TePe will remove it. You’ll want to use a toothbrush afterwards so that bacteria doesn’t remain on the other parts of your teeth.


While toothpaste with fluoride is essential, more important is the concentration of fluoride parts per million (or ppm) which should appear on the container or box. Most brands carry it in small print on the back. 1,000 fluoride ppm is recommended for children under 3 years old. Older children and adults need between 1,350ppm and 1,500ppm. If you’re a high-risk patient, ask your dentist to prescribe you one.

One other really important advice is not to rinse your mouth out once you’re done brushing. You have to leave some amount of fluoride behind, not get rid of it entirely after applying it for two minutes. Fluoride left behind will remineralize your enamel, offering it protection and strength.

Then you forgot to brush your teeth before going to bed. You must have eaten a starchy or acidic meal and got one drink too many. Did you know that it takes 24 hours for the gum disease process to start? Hence, it’s essential to go for the toothbrush when you wake up and before breakfast. The final word is: clean with an interdental brush first, then brush with fluoride. Then spit it out but don’t rinse. We are guaranteed better oral health than the generation before us.