Throughout the day, you have many opportunities to improve your oral hygiene by brushing, flossing, and choosing healthy foods. But during sleep, you don’t have much control over what goes on in your mouth.
What you learn may surprise you a little. If anything, it will definitely entice you to brush your teeth right before bed.
Bacteria Feed on What’s in Your Mouth
Depending on how often you brush and floss, each of your teeth carries between 1,000 and 100,000 bacteria. When you sleep, these bacteria are busy consuming any food source they can find. Because they are microscopic creatures, they can feast on tiny bits of food stuck between your teeth or under your gumline.
Even the thought of bacteria living in your mouth probably sounds pretty bad. Worse still, bacteria, like all living creatures, excrete and their feces are highly acidic. As the acid sits on your teeth, it damages your enamel and contributes to problems like tooth decay and gum disease.
You can’t destroy bacteria in your mouth, but you can manage the population and minimize the damage they cause. Always brush and floss your teeth before going to bed. The less food bacteria you have, the less your mouth can support.
Your Mouth Makes Less Saliva
When you sleep, your mouth produces less saliva so you don’t swallow all night. Unfortunately, less saliva helps bacteria and germs thrive.
If you have bad breath in the morning, it’s probably because a lack of saliva allows bacteria and germs to multiply overnight.
Again, brushing your teeth before bed will help you manage bacteria. You should also brush your teeth when you wake up. Otherwise, bacteria and microbes will continue to multiply and defecate.
Many People Grind Their Teeth While They Sleep
Studies show that about 8% of adults grind their teeth while sleeping, a condition known in the dental world as bruxism. Even more worrying is that nearly a third of parents say their child grinds their teeth while they sleep.
If left unchecked, bruxism can lead to numerous problems and potentially a dental emergency. When you grind your teeth, you can:
.You can distort the shape of your teeth
.Your enamel wears away
.You can hurt your cheek by chewing it
.Your sensitivity to hot and cold increases
Other problems caused by bruxism include;
.Sore muscles in the jaw, neck and face
If you have bruxism, you may need to wear a night plate while you sleep. You can also try to manage the situation by reducing your stress during the day, avoiding caffeine before bed, avoiding tobacco products and drinking less alcohol.
Take Care of Your Teeth Morning and Evening
Other than following a good dental hygiene plan that includes brushing and flossing before and after sleep, there isn’t much you can do to change what happens in your mouth during the night.
Since you have limited options, it makes sense to rely on preventative care that will keep cavities, gum disease, and other problems at bay.