When Should You Use Mouthwash & Brush Your Teeth?

Brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day is crucial for proper oral hygiene. This is because brushing can reach and clean up to 60% of all teeth surfaces. But when should you brush your teeth?

Why Should You Brush Your Teeth?

Brushing for two minutes twice a day aids in removing plaque from teeth. Plaque is a contributor to teeth decay and gum disease. Brushing for the recommended two minutes gives you enough time to thoroughly brush the surfaces a toothbrush can reach.

If you don't brush your teeth, you could have the following symptoms:

  • Bad breath
  • Cavities
  • Gingivitis (form of gum disease)
  • Tooth decay
  • Mouth ulcers

Should You Brush Before Or After Breakfast?

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During the night, bacteria growth occurs in the mouth. Brushing your teeth with toothpaste containing fluoride helps prevent tooth decay. The NHS recommends using toothpaste that contains between 1350 and 1500 ppm fluoride. After brushing your teeth, do not rinse as that will dilute the fluoride and reduce protection. As well as not rinsing, you shouldn't eat or drink anything for the same reasons.

Brushing directly after breakfast can actually have a negative effect on your teeth if you consume acidic foods. This is because acids can wear away your enamel, which protects your teeth. Thus, since your teeth is less protected, cavities and infections could be more common. If you're keen on brushing your teeth after breakfast, make sure you wait at least 60 minutes. This is recommended by the ADA to give enough time for your saliva to wash away acids and re-harden your enamel.

Brushing At Night

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The NHS recommends that you brush your teeth last thing at night, as well as on 1 other occasion during the day. This decreases the amount of bacteria build-up that occurs during the night. At night, saliva production, which has anti-bacterial properties, decreases. This gives bacteria the perfect opportunity to attack your teeth. Thus, brushing before sleeping is essential to remove the bacteria in your mouth.

When Should You Use Mouthwash?

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Mouthwash should be used at least 30 minutes before or after brushing. This is because, even though some mouthwash products contain fluoride, it is usually not as concentrated as dedicated fluoride toothpaste. For example, our Mouthwash Concentrate dilutes to 86 ppm fluoride whereas our Complete Care Toothpaste contains 1450 ppm fluoride. Therefore, if you use mouthwash straight after brushing, you're essentially diluting the fluoride which reduces its protective capabilities. Read our blog to learn more about how and when to use mouthwash.


So, after reading this blog, you should have a decent idea of when to brush your teeth as well as the reasoning behind it. To summarise, brush your teeth before breakfast and before sleeping. If you're eager to brush your teeth after breakfast, wait 30 minutes to give your mouth time to neutralise the pH levels.

Throughout this blog, fluoride has been referenced which people have mixed opinions about. Read our blog on fluoride and whether or not it's good for you to learn more about fluoride and the benefits of using fluoride toothpaste.