Brushing Your Teeth – How Often and When?

As a general rule of thumb (rule of tooth?), the American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth a minimum of two times a day to maintain good dental health and hygiene.  You’ve probably heard Dr. Brunacini, Dr. Karagiorgos, and our team of amazing hygienists sing a similar tune at your check ups.  That’s because brushing your teeth twice a day is a simple step that all of us can take to ward off plaque, bad breath, and tooth decay. But this month, let’s dig a little deeper…  How often should we really be brushing our teeth and when is the best time to do it? Let’s discuss!


Q: Is brushing my teeth twice a day enough?

A: As mentioned, the ADA recommends brushing your teeth at least two times every day, with gentle strokes, for two minutes each time, and we agree! We also recommend using a fluoride toothpaste, a toothbrush with soft bristles – we particularly recommend electric toothbrushes, as well as flossing at least once per day.


Q: Should I brush my teeth before or after I eat breakfast?

A: It is always a good idea to brush your teeth in the morning due to the growth of bacteria that happens overnight. But should you brush before or after you eat and drink? Either one is fine, but if you prefer to brush after you’ve had breakfast, the ADA recommends waiting at least 60 minutes, especially if you’ve had something acidic like orange juice or coffee.  This gives your saliva a chance to rinse your teeth and restore your mouth to its natural pH.


Q: Should I brush my teeth after every meal?

A:  While it’s not necessary, brushing your teeth after having a high-carb or high-sugar snack is never a bad idea! Again, you should wait about an hour after eating before you brush.


Q: How often should my kids brush their teeth?

A: Two times per day is also the minimum for kids, but if your child wants to brush more, there is no reason not to, as long as he or she brushes gently and with a soft toothbrush. If your child or teen wears braces, brushing after every meal is recommended.

To make sure younger children brush their teeth for a full two minutes each time, try a toothbrush with a fun timer or teach them a two-minute song to sing or hum while brushing. You can also download a fun toothbrushing app on your phone. 


Q: Does it matter when I brush my teeth in the evening?

A: Brushing right before bed each night is a great habit to get into, as it removes the bacteria that has accumulated in your mouth during the day while reducing the buildup of plaque while you sleep. 

Do you have more questions about how to best care for your oral health?  Give us a call at 207.781.5900 — We are your partner in oral health care and are happy to answer any and all questions you may have!    

Happy Brushing! 🙂