Gina Florio
Updated Dec 21, 2016 @ 11:46 am
Credit: Shutterstock

It’s one of those things we’re told when we’re kids, so we never really second guess it when we get older, but how often we should brush our teeth every day is a valid thing to wonder, no matter how silly the question may seem. You’ll be glad to know that you’re probably doing it the right way, as the American Dental Association says that you should be brushing your teeth twice a day, every day.

But you definitely don’t have to limit your teeth cleaning to two times a day. In fact, many experts say three times a day wouldn’t be such a bad habit to pick up. Perhaps you could think about brushing them in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night just before bed. When you’re planning out your teeth cleaning schedule, though, remember that the actual timing of the act does matter.

For example, Scott Frey, an orthodontist and Fellow of World Congress of Minimally Invasive Dentistry & American Academy of Facial Esthetics, says on Quora that cleaning your teeth before you eat breakfast, rather than after, is crucial. That’s because the bacteria have been building up in your mouth overnight, and you want to flush them out before you drink or eat anything (which would subsequently make you swallow them). Also, salivary calcium levels are really low in the morning when you first wake up, which makes your teeth very susceptible to acid damage, but brushing your teeth protects your mouth by getting your salivary juices flowing and adding in fluoride that will fight the bad acids.

Furthermore, be sure you wait a little while after you finish a meal to brush your teeth. The enamel on your teeth gets softened by things we eat and drink, particularly acidic foods and drinks. This could cause heightened sensitivity in your teeth and abrasion. Um, no thank you. So wait at least half an hour before you take the toothbrush to your precious pegs and you should be in the clear.