I will offer a contrary opinion from my colleagues, in the hope that you make an imformed decision. Most people brush their teeth to prevent tooth decay, but brushing is more linked with gum disease prevention. For decay to occur, you need to have both sugars and plaque for a period of time. Removing either the sugar or the plaque reduces decay, with sugar frequency reduction being the most important factor.
There is only limited research showing a link between brushing timing and prevention of problems as it is very difficult to accurately measure over a long period. It makes sense logically to brush after food, to remove it. In reality, it doesn't seem to make much difference, based on the available evidence.
One thing we do know for sure, is that if you brush after acidic foods or drinks, you can wear down the enamel. This is a combination of abrasion and erosion. This is becoming a bigger problem as our diet is becoming more acidic. For breakfast, many people have juice and leave for work soon after. If you brush shortly after consuming juice, you will be doing damage. You should wait 30-60 minutes after dietary acids, and then brush.
For those that rush out to work in the morning, it may then be better to brush prior to eating. You still reduce the available plaque, to help prevent tooth decay and gum disease, but without the increased abrasion problem. If you have time, wait for 30-60 minutes after eating and then brush.
It is this increased enamel wear that is causing an increase in tooth sensitivity. You have probably seen the many varieties available and special toothpastes now formulated to help erosion. Not only is this damaging the enamel structurally, cosmetically, as the enamel becomes thinner, the tooth appears darker.
Hope this extra information is usefull rather than confusing you further.
Dr Frank Farrelly
Take Pride in Your Smile
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