Say cheese! Or not, as the case maybe…

And going by the reaction at a recent event where I, along with several other health and beauty journalists, were invited to hear founder of the Harley Street Dental Studio, Dr Mark Hughes discuss oral hygiene, I reckon I’m safe in assuming that you’ve probably been brushing your teeth all wrong!

Get this. You’re supposed to brush before breakfast, not after!

WTAF? I know, right?

(Now, if you’ve already been doing this, well bloody done! You get a sticker and get to scroll straight down to enter the competition below to win THIS!)


OK. So, back to this press event hosted by FOREO – where the habitual routine of waking, weeing, showering, eating breakfast and then brushing was in fact, according to Dr Hughes, wrong, wrong, wrong!

Wide-eyed and wanting to look gobsmacked but then fearing that opening my mouth would further expose me as someone who has now been caught out by this A-list dentist-in-demand; my only saving grace was knowing that I haven’t always been brushing my teeth incorrectly…

As a child, once those wonky (thumb-sucker) pearly whites popped out, my parents always encouraged my brother and I to brush first thing in the morning.

The fact that Colgate and Cornflakes mingled, wasn’t an issue.

We’d nothing to compare it to. We assumed it was the norm. A bit like not being able to watch TV and laugh on Good Friday. That’s normal, innit?

I blame getting a degree in dancing to house music, I mean a BA Hons in Media Studies (what do you mean that’s the same thing?) because it was only until after I left home that I began to mess up my routine and these are what Dr Hughes suggests are the contributing factors as to why us Brits have on record, some of the worst oral hygiene habits.

Did you know that half the population suffer from gum disease?

If you’re clamping your mouth shut as you read this – don’t!

Your breath doesn’t smell (quick, check!) and I’m sure that once you realise that you may have to change (perhaps) what’s been the habit of a lifetime, then you’re already making steps in improving your oral health and if you have kids – your children’s teeth, too.


If you’re a parent reading this, it’s a normal reaction to feel horror, shock and guilt at this point! I know I did. Stay calm, their teeth won’t drop out at this revelation, I promise. Based on what Dr Hughes advised, here’s how I’ve started to switch things up for the better.


The primary reason to brush before breakfast is to remove bacteria that’s built up while you’ve been asleep. This bacteria is to blame for poor oral health and it lives off food. Brushing after breakfast means not only are you feeding this bacteria, you’re scrubbing it right in, too!


After brushing, be careful not to over rinse! You want the flouride from your toothpaste to protect and strengthen your tooth enamel. Flouride is also antibacterial and helps rebuild and reverse the process of tooth decay. Over rinsing with water, washes all the goodness away. While Dr Hughes advises not to swallow toothpaste and to always supervise young children when brushing, he says there’s no evidence to suggest it’s poisonous.


Dr Hughes states that using a mouthwash isn’t a necessity for many, unless you suffer from gum or root disease. It’s mainly psychological. And he’s absolutely right. Since switching up our routine, we’re still weirded out by not brushing after a bowl of cereal or toast – so swilling out with a flouride mouthwash after, does the trick.


Cleaning in between your teeth is essential. Dr Hughes couldn’t stress enough, how vital it is to do this daily and preferably after every meal.

Brushing beforehand doesn’t mean you can eat and run.

You still have to remove (but not brush) food from your teeth – and flossing is the best way. You can totally see how snacking and grazing throughout the day can contribute to so many dental problems, innit? If you don’t remove food debris afterwards, the bacteria is basically being drip-fed all day long…


Why? You guessed it – to remove bacteria. Most tooth brushes have ridges on the reverse and it’s for this purpose. Dr Hughes suggests “combing it out like a carpet, once a day.”


Finally, here’s something to get you on your way to improving your oral hygiene habits.

For a chance to win a FOREO ISSA 2 electric toothbrush worth £149, all you have to do is scroll down and comment below. Simples!

I was sent an ISSA 2 a couple of months ago to review and along with Dr Hughes advice, it’s totally changed the way I brush and look at oral health.

Unlike a normal electric toothbrush – which oscillates with abrasive bristles – this one pulsate, which is much gentler and healthier for gums while still effectively cleaning the teeth by removing plaque and preventing cavities and tartar.

And, I still can’t get over the fact that it only requires one charge per year!

I know, right?!

Certain mobile companies – which will remain nameless – need to get onto this, innit! *cough

Thanks for reading, happy brushing and GOOD LUCK!


FOREO ISSA 2 |£149 and FOREO ISSA 2 Sensitive | £169 | Available in Pink, Black, Blue and Mint

Available from John Lewis, Selfridges,, and

*Please read The FT Times’ competition terms and conditions…

*Entry to this competition is free and open to UK residents and The FT Times subscribers only aged 18 and over and excludes those professionally associated with The FT Times or the Promoter

*The competition starts at 07:00am on 03/05/18 and closes at midnight on the 10/05/18

*The Promoter’s decision on all matters is final and binding on all entrants

*The winner will be picked at random and notified by 9pm on 11/05/18

*The prize, a FOREO ISSA 2 Toothbrush in MINT is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative



  • As someone has his first wobbly tooth we need this beauty to look after the grown up teeth!

    • Aaaah! Hope he’s coping OK with this? The first one can be a bit stressful. The brush head on this may be a bit big for little mouths but FOREO do a mini version too.

      FT xoxo

  • I’d love to win a Foreo Issa 2! And I’ve been brushing mine correctly so pat on the back to me (although I don’t use mouthwash or floss) must add that to the regime. I suffer with horrific mouth ulcers. And I find mouthwash agony. But I’ll try again in the name of oral
    Hygiene! Hope you have a lovely Thursday!

    • OMG! You definitely get a sticker! Well done! Flossing is really important. The message here is to remove food (and drink) traces as often as possible without unnecessary abrasion.
      Ulcers are a pain, you poor thing. My eldest had them lots when he first got braces and I tend to get them when I’m stressed or eat kiwis!
      Good luck and Happy Thursday, too

      FT xoxo

  • Before not after??? Who knew?!!!
    Would love to win this. I’m forever smiling awkwardly in photos because I get nervous about my teeth ?
    @sharposity Xx

    • I KNOW!!!
      I’m the same with feeling conscious of my teeth. Mine are wonky and I had four eye teeth taken out when I was younger and that traumatised me so much the thought of a brace was enough to send me over the edge, so I opted out, in fear (dentists back in the 80s were harsh, IMHO!) Now, I’d love to have one, but can’t afford £5k!In the meantime though, keeping my oral health in optimum condition is key. Especially as you age…
      Good luck with the comp

      FT xoxo

  • I need this toothbrush in my life! I’m always forgetting to charge mine and then wind up standing next to it watching it and willing it to recharge so that I can get to bed – it’s a painfully slow affair. Here’s hoping!

    • OH NO! I hear you. I always have a manual on standby when this happens as it’s such a faff, innit!?
      It’s amazing technology that FOREO have here. I just must remember to put the charger in a safe place that I REMEMBER, haha!

      Good luck and thank you for entering

      FT xoxo

  • I went to the dentist last week, she commented that I had receeding gums (at my age??!!) From brushing too hard, would love to try this toothbrush out for that reason. X

    • Yup, a very common problem hon with age. I have it too but ’cause my teeth are wonky and can be hard to clean I tended to over brush when really I should have been just flossing more. I’ve noticed a real difference since using the FOREO ISSA2 for a couple of months now and switching up my routine. Teeth feel less gritty, gums aren’t as inflammed and they look cleaner, too.

      Good luck
      FT xoxo

  • Totally agree with Dr Hughes. It all makes sense and I knew all of that, except over-rinsing! Will have to make a few changes now. It’d be hard for me not to brush my teeth after eating food. Thanks for your lovely article & a chance to win a toothbrush ??

    • Don’t brush straight after, instead floss and then swill out to remove food, sugar traces etc and then you could lightly brush (don’t over rinse after) or use a mouth wash after flossing and swilling with water so you leave the flouride from the mouth wash on your enamel to get to work.

      Good luck
      FT xoxo

      FT xoxo

  • No laughing on Good Friday made me laugh out loud ? I’m def an ‘overbrusher’ so will change our morning routine after reading this ?

  • Ooo would love to win this. I don’t get a sticker so I need it ?. Interesting article though and I’ll be changing how I brush so thank you ? xx

  • Having breakfast at work was great for brushing teeth before breakfast. Working from home means it’s now the other way around. Time for a switcheroo! Love the look of the Foreo brush x

    • Funny how our lifestyle changes can really switch up our routines, right?
      Good luck with the switcheroo and thanks for entering

      FT xoxo

  • Who else is horrified reading this and running their tongue over their teeth to see how good or bad our brushing was today? Bring on a new routine and brush hopefully ha ha

    • It takes time to break old habits but at least we know now, innit!

      Good luck with the comp Em

      FT xoxo

  • Very interesting read Fatima especially after Leon and I have recently been to the dentist and hygienist. Since my visit and telling off from the hygienist I’ve been brushing for 2 minuets and flossing well, I’ve even bought my self an oral b electric toothbrush. Xx

    • You’ll notice a big difference with an electric brush compared to manual. Flossing daily is also essential. I still have to remind myself.

      Good luck with the competition

      FT xoxo

  • Eek – no sticker over here – but just got the floss out of the drawer and have it in view for all tomorrow!! The brush looks ace… on the wish list!! X

  • I will be showing this to my mum as she rinses and then rinses some more!!! Def need to switch my routine around. Might have to do the mouthwash swirl after brekkie though, as otherwise I’ll be self conscious all day.

    • The rinses was a revelation for me too. The mouthwash swig is definitely a good way to get used to switching things up

      FT xoxo

  • Brushing before not after ?, well you could knock me down with a feather.
    38 years later and I shall finally be brushing correctly!
    This brush looks awesome, I’d love to win it. X

    • I hear ya, I was the same! Good luck with the giveaway and thanks for entering

      FT xoxo

  • I’m brushing right too ☺️☺️ I have to add my floss in my every day routine not just when my salad is stuck between my teeth ?

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