A lot can happen to your mouth in eight hours while you are sleeping! Don’t let the thought of plaque, cavities, tartar, or gingivitis stop you from getting a good night’s rest. Here are eight tips to get you — and your mouth — through the night.
1. Brush before bedtime. Brushing your teeth before you go to sleep at night helps protect against plaque buildup, tooth decay, and gum disease.
2. Use good form when you brush. The best way to clean your teeth is to brush back and forth GENTLY in short strokes. Brush the outer tooth surfaces first, then the inner tooth surfaces, followed by the chewing surfaces. And, don’t forget the backs of your teeth.
3. Switch to an electric toothbrush. The rotating and oscillating movement of the electric toothbrush removes plaque from your teeth more efficiently.
4. Don’t just brush — floss! (GEEZ – didn’t we just say this last month?) Flossing removes food particles and plaque buildup while it’s still soft. If this debris stays on the teeth, bacteria will increase throughout the night and feed off them while you’re sleeping.
5. Rinse with mouthwash. Mouthwash isn’t just for fresh breath — some mouth washes contain special ingredients that strengthen teeth and help treat certain oral health conditions. However, most commercial, over-the-counter mouthwashes — known as cosmetic mouthwashes — are designed to mask bad breath and they won’t do much to contribute to your oral health. Talk to us about which mouthwash is right for you.
6. Be aware of teeth grinding. If you experience worn tooth enamel, increased tooth sensitivity, or torn cheek tissue, you may be grinding your teeth in your sleep. Let us know if you experience any of these; we can make a mouth guard that you can wear at night to protect your teeth from the effects of grinding.
7. See your dentist regularly. Be sure to schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings. Remember, preventive care and maintenance are just as important for a healthy mouth as good daytime AND NIGHTTIME oral hygiene.