Bedtime can be a hard time. You’ve had a long day and the last thing you want to do is take time to brush your teeth. While it’s tempting to skip brushing and flossing, we encourage you to take two minutes to brush your teeth before jumping into bed. The benefits of brushing extend beyond keeping your smile bright and white.
While you might think it’s no big deal to skip brushing because all you are going to be doing is sleeping, the bacteria in your mouth aren’t sleeping. For the 8 hours that your eyes are closed, the bacteria in your mouth will likely be having a party.
It’s A Cavity Party
Every time that you eat or drink anything (other than water) you put your mouth into an acidic state. This acidic period usually lasts for 30 minutes or so until your saliva works to neutralize your saliva. While cavities don’t form in 30 minutes, many 30 minute exposures over time do contribute to cavities.
A few different things can be done to prevent cavities:
- Remove cavity-causing bacteria by brushing and flossing daily
- Brush before bed, eliminating as much plaque as possible before sleeping for the night
- Using over-the-counter fluoride products or have your dentist do a fluoride varnish treatments
- Being mindful of how often you are exposing your teeth to this acidic state, snacking or sipping on drinks throughout the day is the worst because it puts your mouth into a constant acidic environment. Focus on eating and drinking at meal times and drinking water in between meals can help to reduce how often your mouth is in this acidic state.
Bacteria don’t just cause cavities, they can also cause gingivitis or inflammation of your gum tissue. Bacteria that hang out on your gum tissue can cause your gum tissue to bleed, turn red, or become sensitive.
Over time, bacteria become more harmful and destructive the longer they stay in one area. This is why brushing your teeth before bed is so important. Your toothbrush removes a lot of bacteria that likes to hang out and cause problems with your gum tissue and your teeth. Your toothbrush also helps to break up the bacteria colonies that are in your mouth so that they aren’t so destructive. When you break up the bacteria colonies through brushing they have to build-up again before they can cause the same amount of damage to your teeth. This is why brushing two to three times a day is so effective in keeping your teeth and gum tissue healthy!
Halitosis or bad breath is another good reason to be brushing your teeth before bed. Bacteria that stick around too long in one place can also lead to bad breath. One of the most common places that bad-breath bacteria hangout is on the top surface of the tongue. Be sure to brush the top of your tongue well before you go to bed.
Did you know that your saliva production slows down at bed time? Saliva helps to neutralize your mouth after you eat or drink. Without saliva, your mouth is more likely to be dry. Dry mouth puts you at risk of decay. The more plaque that you can remove off your teeth before your salivary flow slows down while you sleep, the better off your teeth will be!
We know it can be challenging to brush before crashing on your bed for the night. Hopefully reading about the benefits of brushing your teeth before bedtime will encourage you to take two minutes to do so. The bad habit of not brushing before bed can lead to bad breath, cavities, and gum tissue problems. We hate for any of those things to happen to you!
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