Readers ask, we answer: When is the best time to brush?

Marissa asks:

"Should I brush before or after breakfast?"

Have a question you’d like us to answer? Send it to, and it could be featured in an upcoming issue.

Hi, Marissa! The answer depends on what your breakfast looks like.

It’s true that brushing after eating can help reduce cavity-causing bacteria in your month. After eating food or drinks with lots of sugar or carbs, harmful bacteria can linger in your mouth for 20 minutes or more.

However, if you’re planning to eat or drink something acidic — such as grapefruit, pineapple, orange juice or even coffee — it’s better to brush before breakfast. That’s because acid attacks your teeth after you eat, weakening your tooth enamel. It takes about 30 to 45 minutes for your enamel to restore its strength. Brushing too soon, while your enamel is temporarily weakened, can damage your teeth. Instead of brushing after breakfast, consider swishing with water to help wash away acids.

If brushing after breakfast is already your jam, wait at least a half hour after eating to prevent damage to your teeth.

The most important thing to remember is to brush every morning for a full two minutes. This removes bacteria, acid and plaque that build up in your mouth overnight. Plus, it helps get rid of morning breath!