Skipping Brushing Your Teeth At Bedtime? Big Mistake….
Late night tiredness can result in neglecting our teeth overnight, with potentially disastrous consequences.
Some people argue that you should brush your teeth before breakfast, in the morning, whilst others argue that you should do so afterwards.
Whatever the case though, the reality is that nearly all of us will brush our teeth at some point during the morning, if only to freshen up our breath before heading to work.
The same is not always true of our nighttime routine though, and, especially when we have had a long day and are feeling very tired, or perhaps even under the influence of alcohol. In these situations we may simple decide to give it a miss, with the intention of ‘catching up’ in the morning, Unfortunately, good oral health is not achievable if you take this approach, and quality night time brushing and flossing is essential if you want to avoid tooth decay and other issues.
Our mouths at night
The most obvious reason for cleaning your teeth at night is to remove any sugars and food particles that have become attached to the teeth and gums during the day. Everything that we eat, but especially sticky sugary food and drinks, will probably lead to cavities if not removed.
It isn’t just food though. Out mouths contain a large number of bacteria, some of which are very helpful and start the digestive process by breaking down foods. Unfortunately, not all are as benign, and some bacteria will contribute to common oral health issues like decay and gum disease, if not kept under control.
As our saliva production slows down at night, reducing its capacity to flush away these bacteria, it is important to remove as much as possible before we go to sleep. This can only be done by following good bedtime oral health routines.
The ‘golden rules’ of bedtime cleaning
Having said that you should make sure that your teeth and gums are clean at night, before you go to sleep, what is the best way to do this?
Brushing – Almost everybody does this, but that doesn’t mean to say that you can’t improve the way that you brush. Ask yourself when was the last time you changed your toothbrush? Do the bristles look worn out? If your toothbrush is old and worn, it will be much less effective at removing food and bacteria. If you haven’t changed it in the last three months, throw it away and buy a new one.
You might also want to consider changing your toothpaste. There are now a number of toothpastes which help to prevent gum disease. These are worth investigating as gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in the UK.
Dental floss – Yes, we have said this before, but we can’t say it often enough. Brushing alone is not fully effective and some form of inter-dental cleaning is essential too. There are a number of products on the market for this, but dental floss is as good as any, and is probably cheapest too. If you find flossing hard to do, ask the hygienist at our Streatham dentists surgery to show you how.
Water – As our saliva flow reduces whilst we sleep, we may wake up with a dry mouth in the morning, especially if we drink or smoke. Whilst we might think that a quick glass of water in the morning will sort that out, the truth is that, whilst our mouths have been dehydrated, the number of bacteria will have increased overnight, due to the dry environment. This is why it is so important to clean your teeth in the morning, and not just for fresher breath!
It is also helpful if you are able to drink a glass, or two, of water before you go to bed. This will help reduce dehydration and you might also wake up feeling more refreshed. Make sure that it is water though. No other food or drink should pass your lips once you have cleaned your teeth.
If you follow this routine, you will be well on your way to having healthier teeth and gums. Inevitably though, some bacteria will remain, and, over time, will calcify on your teeth and gum line. Once it has reached this stage, you will be unable to remove it yourself at home, and will require the assistance of a dental hygienist. Using a tool that shatters this calcified bacteria, in a procedure known as a ‘scale and polish’, a twice yearly visit will make sure that your oral health is in the best shape possible.
Perhaps it is stating the obvious, but even the best care possible, as suggested above, does not negate the need to see a dentist every six months for your regular check up. Appointments for this, and any other reason, can be made by calling the Confidental Clinic in Streatham on 020 8674 2052.