You’re exhausted after a long day. All you want to do is let your head hit the pillow and fall asleep. What’s the harm in skipping a few nights of brushing your teeth? You’ll be surprised to find out what actually goes on inside your mouth when you cave on your oral hygiene routine and make a habit of falling asleep without brushing.
When you go to bed at night, you’re likely ending the day on three full meals plus snacks and drinks. You should know that every time you eat, the bacteria in your mouth feeds on the food too. And just like other living organisms, bacteria excretes wastes after eating. Not only is this gross to think about, but bacteria wastes are very acidic, enough to erode or break down the enamel of your teeth. This leads to root decay and cavities over time.
Another substance you’re inviting in your mouth when you neglect to brush is plaque. After you consume your snacks or meals, it takes just minutes for the plaque to form. If you give plaque long enough, such as several hours during the night, it will harden and calcify on your teeth. Once plaque hardens, only a professional cleaning from you dentist can remove it.
To make matters worse. The hardened plaque along your gum line creates inflammation or irritation of these soft tissues. Your body’s immune system actually responds by attacking the plaque buildup in an attempt to save your gums from infection. Unfortunately, healthy gum tissues get destroyed in the process too – which you’ll notice as gum recession or the gums pulling away from the tooth roots. At this point, the stability of your teeth are at risk, among other things. In fact, studies have linked chronic inflammation in the mouth to hearing loss, dementia, heart disease and other serious medial conditions.
Is one night of not brushing going to give you gum disease and cavities? Probably not. However, if it becomes a habit, you’ll be highly susceptible to these disruptive oral health conditions. Not to mention, the look of your smile may start to suffer too. Your nightly brushing habit is an important part of cleaning surface stains off of your teeth before they penetrate the inner layers.
If you are consistently too tired to brush, or maybe you fall asleep watching TV and don’t want to get up for your teeth cleaning session, there are some things you can do. At the very least, have a glass of water by your bed to rinse away the food debris and acids of your last bites. You can also store a toothbrush and flossing stick in your nightstand drawer, as dry brushing and a quick flossing session while lying in bed is better than skipping altogether.
For more helpful tips on caring for your smile at home, contact Avalon Dental Group.
Avalon Dental Group
2205 Williams Trace Blvd., #108
Sugar Land, TX 77478
Dental Topics: Prevention Through Education
The field of dentistry has benefitted greatly from the advancements in materials and technologies to help promote good oral health. Yet as a dentist myself, I've seen that my profession has embraced these new technologies at the risk of spending less time promoting "prevention through education." The truth is the healthiest mouths are not the mouths of the wealthiest people, but rather the mouths of educated people. This blog is my effort to educate the public and promote good oral health.