Keeping your smile bright with healthy teeth and gums, is not just a task for the daytime, your mouth needs proper dental care at night too. There is a lot going on in your mouth while you are sleeping, especially bacteria gathering on your teeth. While you are sleeping, you only produce a small amount of saliva, which creates the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. But, you shouldn’t let the thought of cavities, tartar, plaque, and gingivitis get in the way of a good night’s sleep, because this guide to nighttime oral care will provide you with the solution for maintaining a healthy mouth while you sleep.
Why is Nighttime Oral Care Important?
As you eat throughout the day, food particles will accumulate on the surface of your mouth and in between teeth. While you are sleeping, you do not produce enough saliva to remove the food particles and when food particles are not removed, bacteria may grow. Bacteria may then begin to eat away at the dental tissue, which may lead to gingivitis and/or tooth decay.
Good Nighttime Oral Hygiene
There are three simple steps for nighttime hygiene; brushing, flossing and rinsing with a mouthwash.
- Brushing-You should brush your teeth just before going to bed unless you are particularly susceptible to gum disease and/or cavities, then you should brush immediately after dinner and then again before bedtime. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste, brush your teeth by using a back and forth motion in short strokes and making sure you brush the gums. The American Dental Association suggests you brush the outer surface of teeth first and work your way through the inner surfaces and chewing surfaces of teeth. It is also recommended that you brush your teeth for a full two minutes for the full benefits.
- Flossing-Cleaning between your teeth by flossing, allows you to remove the food particles and plaque that cannot be removed by brushing. Flossing also helps to remove the plaque while it is soft, which typically hardens while you are sleeping. To floss correctly, using a strand of floss that is about 18-inch long, wind the ends around your middle fingers (this helps manage the floss better), then hold the remaining floss tightly between the forefingers and thumbs. Gently rub the floss between your teeth and as you get close to the gum line, curve the floss against the tooth, while rubbing back and forth against the tooth. Repeat the same process for all of your teeth, including your back teeth.
- Rinsing with mouthwash-Although mouthwash is commonly used for fresh breath, therapeutic many mouth rinses also contain ingredients that help to strengthen your teeth, keep your teeth free from plaque, prevent cavities and protects your gums from gingivitis. Not all mouthwashes are the same, so it is important to talk with your dentist about the best mouthwash for your needs. As part of your nighttime oral health care, mouthwash should be used after brushing and flossing.
Oral health is not a glamorous task and it is something that many people do not think about until there is a problem. It is important to visit your dentist for regular checkups and dental exams. Letting dental problems deteriorate can cause a number of complications, both with your oral health and your physical health. Schedule your Appointment today!