Oral health extends beyond the ability to eat your favorite foods and show off your million dollar smile. In fact, oral health says a lot about overall wellness. Therefore, it’s important to take proper care of your mouth.
Your mouth is the entryway to your digestive tract. When you eat, leftover food combines with oral bacteria to create tartar and plaque. In addition to creating oral disease, bacteria have a direct path to the rest of your body.
If you practice oral care and still struggle with your oral hygiene, it’s likely you’re missing a nighttime routine. It’s common to take care of your teeth in the morning. Throughout the day, however, your mouth has time to accumulate harmful materials.
Learning how to improve oral health is the key to maintaining a healthy mouth. If you follow these pre-bedtime oral health tips, your smile will thank you.
Nighttime Oral Health Tips
1. Your toothbrush is your best friend.
Of course, brushing your teeth is essential to maintaining a healthy mouth. According to the Community Health of Central Washington, brushing your teeth significantly reduces your chances of developing plaque, which leads to gum disease. Failing to brush for even a couple of days allows plaque to build at an alarming rate.
Brushing your teeth at least twice every day makes it difficult for tartar and plaque to stick on enamel as well as pass through your digestive tract. Brush your teeth before going to bed, especially after you’ve eaten, to avoid bacteria growth overnight. If possible, make brushing the final part of your pre-sleep routine.
If you want to kick your plaque removal into high gear, try an electric toothbrush. Professionals at Oral-B swear by the benefits of them in comparison to traditional toothbrushes. Generally speaking, it’s like power washing a car as opposed to washing a car by hand.
2. Floss away your unwanted guests.
While brushing helps keep your enamel strong. However, as the saying goes, every hero needs a sidekick. Brushing and flossing are the oral hygiene version of Batman and Robin.
Brushing is essential for surface area, but flossing gets between teeth and pulls up excess debris that also causes cavities and tartar buildup. Dental professionals believe when food remains between your teeth, it secretes the acid responsible for erosion. Flossing each time you brush your teeth eliminates acid erosion, especially before bed.
Oftentimes, people remove flossing from their routine based on the process being difficult. As mentioned by Healthline, children and senior citizens are at higher risk for plaque buildup. This occurs based on the trouble to floss due to arthritis-related conditions in the elderly and a struggle to use floss for children.
Luckily, grocery stores and pharmacies offer easier flossing solutions. Various oral care brands offer ready-to-use flossing tools that make flossing easier for everyone.
3. Keep your teeth separate, and equal.
Oftentimes, people underestimate the damage caused by teeth grinding. Bruxism, commonly referred to as teeth grinding, is a condition where you clench your jaw and grind your teeth due to stress or anxiety. Over time, grinding causes damage that can even be irreversible.
It’s quite common for people to grind their teeth as they sleep. According to the National Health Service, bruxism is a subconscious gesture that typically causes a number of minor symptoms like headaches, earaches, and muscle pain. In severe cases, bruxism causes the temporomandibular disorder, increased sensitivity, and even tooth loss.
When you begin seeing symptoms of bruxism, there are some simple solutions. For instance, you can practice muscle-relaxing techniques before laying down. You can also sleep with a mouth guard so you’ll have a barrier between your teeth when your jaws clench.
Another solution for managing bruxism is dealing with your triggers. Cognitive-behavioral therapy gives you the tools to get your stress levels under control. Minimizing stress levels helps relieve bruxism symptoms, which save your teeth from additional wear and tear.
4. Mouthwash is a blessing in disguise.
In addition to brushing and flossing, using mouthwash works wonders for overall oral health. Mouthwash does more than make your breath smell like a cool mint. Mouthwash actually strengthens teeth when used correctly.
When you gargle mouthwash after brushing, it helps remove hard to reach bacteria and food particles your toothbrush and floss missed. Mouthwash also contributes to the remineralizing process. As your teeth age, everyday wear and tear cause teeth’s enamel to break down.
Once your enamel wears away, it exposes the inner layers of your teeth. This demineralization process leads to sensitivity and eventually ends in tooth loss. Cavities are a sign of demineralization.
Experts at Tuft University explain that the demineralization and remineralization cycle repeats itself daily. Saliva naturally replaces minimal amounts of calcium. To speed up the remineralization process, rinse your mouth with mouthwash every time you brush or after a meal.
5. Definitely sweat the technique.
Sure, some brushing is better than not brushing at all. It’s important, however, to choose quality brushing techniques over the number of times you brush your teeth. Lack of technique also leaves a buildup on surface enamel, allowing cavities to form at night.
Brushing your teeth for two minutes is key, especially when you use proper technique. The American Dental Association has a greatly informative tooth brushing demonstration video on their YouTube. Modeling their brushing methods will leave your mouth squeaky clean.
6. Shut down your tongue’s plaque party.
Do you often have bad breath, even after brushing your teeth? Can you still taste the last meal you ate after your nighttime oral routine? It’s highly probable you’re forgetting to brush your tongue.
According to RDH Magazine, roughly 20 billion bacteria live in your mouth and multiply throughout the day. As they sit on your tongue, they emit a gas that creates bad breath. Food, drinks, and lack of saliva also contribute to creating bacteria and making your breath stink.
To slow down the reproduction of bacteria on your tongue, you must brush them away. Use gentle strokes to avoid harming your taste buds. If you have a strong gag reflex, it helps to extend your tongue as far as you can as you brush.
Having a nightly oral routine is beneficial for many reasons. As you sleep, bacteria are hard at work breaking your teeth down. By following these tips, you make it easier to maintain your oral health.
In addition to a before-bed routine, it’s wise to make healthy lifestyle choices. Be sure to drink water, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and avoid sugary and acidic foods as often as possible. Also, make a habit of seeing a dentist at least twice a year.
If you have severe oral damage, be sure to seek help immediately. Visit your local dental office and allow them to assist you in finding a proper solution to avoid further underlying health conditions. Most importantly, you must be consistent to get results.
Beauty comes with a price. If you want a show-stopping smile, you must stay on top of maintaining your oral wellness. Your teeth, tongue, and entire body will definitely thank you.