Maintaining a good bedtime oral hygiene routine is even more important than your daytime one. A lot can happen overnight while you are sleeping. Food debris and bacteria can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums during sleep time, when there is almost no saliva produced to wash away bacteria. Most of us have more time at night to properly clean our teeth, but wait until we are too tired to do so. In a few easy steps, you can be assured of a clean mouth, and get a better night’s sleep.
Bedtime Oral Health Tips
1. Tooth brushing at Bedtime. Brushing your teeth before you go to bed at night helps protect against plaque buildup, tooth decay, and periodontal disease. If you are particularly susceptible to tooth decay and/or periodontal disease, it is recommended that you brush immediately after dinner, then again right before bedtime. The earlier you brush, the less likely you are to start snacking, less snacking will reduce food debris and decrease the likelihood of cavities.
2. Practice Proper Brushing Form. The best way to clean your teeth is to brush at an angle gently in short circling strokes. Brush the outer tooth surfaces first, then the inner tooth surfaces, followed by the chewing surfaces. To clean the backs of your front teeth, use the tip of the brush and stroke gently up and down. Get a separate brush (or even a specialized tongue cleaner) to clean your tongue, there is quite a bit more bacteria (as well as dead cells) on your tongue than your teeth, so don’t use the same brush for both.
3. Switch to an electric toothbrush. The rotating and oscillating movement of the electric toothbrush head removes plaque from your teeth more efficiently than a regular toothbrush. Be sure to choose an electric toothbrush that’s comfortable to hold, easy to use, and has the rotating-oscillating head.
4. Do Not Just Brush – Floss Too! Flossing removes food particles and plaque buildup where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. If this debris stays on the teeth, bacteria will increase throughout the night and feed off them, produce acid, and break down enamel while you’re sleeping. Tartar can not be removed by flossing, but accumulation can be slowed down with good hygiene, and the proper rinses. Flossing before bedtime is essential if you want to decrease your chances of periodontal disease and tooth decay. Morning flossing is also recommended, especially if you’re prone to periodontal disease or tartar buildup.
5. Rinse with mouthwash. Mouthwash isn’t just for fresh breath — anti bacterial mouth rinses contain a variety of ingredients that strengthen teeth(fluoride), kill plaque bacteria (Listerine) , help treat certain oral health conditions (Chlorhexidine), or simply dissolve plaque and tartar, like Periogen. Rinsing with a mouthwash before bed will help keep your teeth free of plaque and tooth decay and your gums safe from gingivitis. Most commercial, over-the-counter mouthwashes are designed to mask bad breath, tend to dry your mouth, and they won’t do much to contribute to your oral health. Talk to your dentist about which mouth rinse is the right one for you.
6. Be aware of teeth grinding, apnea, and snoring. If you experience worn tooth enamel, increased tooth sensitivity, or torn cheek tissue, you may be grinding your teeth (also called bruxism) while you sleep. Though dentists cannot stop you from grinding your teeth, they can make you a mouth guard that you can wear at night to protect your teeth from the effects of grinding. There are also appliances that can be made to help you with jaw repositioning to help you breathe easier, and stop snoring.
7. Use a Waterpik. A waterpik is an excellent tool to remove debris that we are unable to get to, massage and stimulate gum tissue, and cleanse a deeper periodontal pocket. You can also add your therapeutic mouthrinse or periogen to the waterpik, to place it where it is needed most.
8. Maintain Regular Dental Visits. Be sure to schedule regular dental examinations and professional cleanings. Your dentist and hygienist will help you keep your teeth clean and your gums healthy over the course of your lifetime. Remember, preventive care and maintenance are just as important for a healthy mouth as good daytime and nighttime oral hygiene.
Oral Health Conclusion
Dental hygiene must be maintained on a regular basis along with visits to the dentist for dental examinations and professional cleanings if you are to maintain a bright, healthy smile. Dental hygiene can not be left by the wayside just because we are tired. Make the time and effort to properly maintain your teeth, and you will be rewarded every morning with a beautiful smile!