Ask an Expert: Basics of Toothbrushing

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September 7th, 2021



Ask an Expert: Basics of Toothbrushing with Dr. Nina

When it comes to caring for your teeth, brushing is a crucial cornerstone. Brushing your teeth keeps your mouth healthy by removing food particles and bacteria that can lead to cavities and gum disease.

Even though this step may seem simple, it’s so important that we decided to sit down with Vice President of Dental Services, Dr. Nina Prabhu, so that we could get answers to some common questions when it comes to brushing teeth.

Brushing Basics FAQ:

What are the most important things to do when I brush my teeth?

Using a toothbrush that best fits your needs, make sure you brush your teeth for two minutes twice per day using fluoridated toothpaste. Brush using a proper technique which includes holding your brush at a 45-degree angle to gums, making small circular motions and brushing the outside, inside and top of your teeth.

Should I use an electric or regular toothbrush?

Check out our handy guide to decide the type of toothbrush that would work best for you.

Is it okay to brush my teeth in the shower?

As long as you are mindful to brush for two minutes and use a good technique, brushing your teeth in the shower works just as well as at the sink. Since bacteria grow in a moist environment, you should not store your toothbrush in the shower. Make sure you put it in a clean and dry place when you are finished using it.

Should I brush my teeth after every meal?

American Dental Association standards dictate that it is only necessary to brush your teeth twice per day with fluoridated toothpaste. If you eat a meal that is highly acidic (citrus fruits, soda, etc.), you can actually damage tooth enamel by brushing immediately after. The ADA recommends drinking a glass of water or chewing sugar-free gum and waiting for one hour after eating to brush your teeth.

Graphic of a cup of coffee with sugar splashed into it

When I wake up, should I brush my teeth right away or wait until after breakfast?

Before or after coffee?

Just like with other meals, some breakfast foods and beverages are very acidic including orange juice and coffee. Because of this, it is better to brush your teeth before consuming these items or waiting for one hour to brush your teeth. A benefit of brushing your teeth right away in the morning is that it leads to increased saliva production. This helps to keep your mouth and teeth clean.


This information in this post is for general educational purposes only and does not warrant or represent any information as related to health as specifically appropriate for you. It is not intended to be medical advice or replace the relationship that you have with your health care providers. You should always seek medical advice on any diagnosis or treatment from a qualified health care provider. The information is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied.