Brushing your teeth a few times a day is among the best ways to protect yourself against one of the most hated phrases in the English dictionary: dental cavities. But on Twitter, some dental scrubbers have mentioned that the mere act of brushing their teeth can affect their appetites, either stimulating it and causing them to get the nighttime munchies or generating the opposite effect and curbing their appetites altogether. PopSci investigated this weird phenomenon, and here’s what we found:
There’s no evidence that brushing your teeth has any effect on the hormones that regulate a person’s appetite, according to Leslie Bonci, a registered dietician and sports nutritionist in Pennsylvania. So why is it that so many people get the munchies (or lack thereof) after their daily dental cleaning? Bonci says the time of day is likely the actual culprit.
People tend to brush their teeth at the beginning of the day—before they’ve done anything—and at the end of the day, as the last thing they do, Bonci says. If brushing your teeth is the first thing you do, and you are also someone who always eats breakfast early in the morning, then it’s likely that your brain will remember that brushing your teeth means breakfast is just around the corner. The opposite would be true at the end of the day. Those who say it suppresses their appetite may more strongly associate brushing with a sense that their chompers are out of commission for the evening.