Ask a Dentist

The Best Time of Day to Brush Your Teeth

Q: Do I have to brush our teeth right before going to bed or just twice a day?

A: There is a bit of controversy around the time of day we brush our teeth, but the answer isn’t simple. It’s important to brush twice a day and floss at least once a day because the food and beverages we consume contain acids that break down the enamel. Any sugars in the foods will lead to tooth decay. Skipping a brushing session also allows plaque to harden, making it impossible to remove with a brush. All of these factors can lead to infections, decay, and health issues.Now, do you have to brush your teeth right before bed? That depends. If you have eaten since you last brushed your teeth, then yes, you should brush your teeth. The reason is while you are asleep, your mouth is less active and you produce less saliva. During the day, we swallow more often and are drinking liquids that can wash away some of that acid and bacteria. At night, it all sits in your mouth and on your teeth which can cause decay and gum irritation.An additional habit to adopt is flossing before bed to eliminate food and bacteria between the teeth.If you brush your teeth a few hours before you go to bed and have consumed nothing except water - you should be alright to hit the hay.