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Can You Brush Away Your Appetite?

A good oral hygiene routine keeps your mouth healthy. It also freshens your breath and a brightens your smile. Some individuals claim another benefit: it reduces your appetite. Others reply with their own counterclaim, that they get hungry when brushing their teeth. So, does the act of tooth brushing have any power over our appetite?

Appetite and Toothbrushing

Dietitians continue to look for any correlation between brushing and appetite. So far, there is no indication of a direct link. Two years ago, Popular Science posted an article that covered an investigation on tooth brushing and appetite. The findings showed no definitive proof that brushing your teeth influences the hormones that regulate a person’s appetite. The article does point out that the phenomenon has not been studied or tested extensively.

Nevertheless, some people still claim that they lose their appetite after brushing while others say they get hungry. Available research does list contributing factors that might influence appetite one way or the other.

Time of Day — Most people brush their teeth in the morning, before breakfast. After a while, your brain gets used to the routine that food comes after brushing, so it starts to prepare your digestive system, leading to hunger. Likewise, brushing at night signals the brain that sleep is near, reducing any desire for food.

Type of Toothpaste — Many toothpastes come in flavors, typically a version of mint. A sweet, minty flavor could stimulate digestive system preparations for food. By itself, this really shouldn’t be enough to stimulate your appetite. But add a tantalizing aroma and it could be enough to make you hungry, making you think it was your brushing that did it.

Chemical Reaction — Some toothpastes use sodium laureth sulfate in their composition. This ingredient makes toothpaste foamy. However, it also suppresses the sweet receptors of your taste buds while intensifying the bitter ones. Have you ever eaten an orange after brushing your teeth? It didn’t taste right, did it? Adverse experiences like this could subconsciously reduce your appetite after brushing.

More Data Needed on Appetite and Oral Hygiene

So although we have these theories and suggestions, there are not enough experimental results to verify definite links between brushing and appetite. It’s also possible that some of the factors listed above could have a cumulative effect, teaming up to either increase or reduce hunger. The issue could also be as simple as mental conditioning — our brains get used to what comes next after we brush our teeth, be it food or sleep. The conclusion at this point is that further testing is required.

Brush Regardless of Appetite

Regardless of how your appetite is involved, your oral health is vital to your well-being. Continue your regimen of brushing twice a day, supplemented with flossing, mouthwash as needed, and semi-annual visits to the Yuba City Dentistry Group. If you haven’t already, schedule an appointment with us online, or give us a call. We can at least make sure your teeth don’t become hungry for attention!


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