Sunrise Family Dentistry

Nighttime Oral Care Advice

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After a long day at work and home, it may be tempting to skip your nighttime oral hygiene routine. Unfortunately, doing so can have negative effects on your smile and your overall health.

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the body makes less saliva at night. Because of this, the bacteria in the mouth doesn't get washed away as often, giving it a chance to thrive. This bacteria is responsible for plaque, dental decay and gum disease. A good nighttime oral hygiene routine will give the bacteria less to feed on, keeping your mouth clean and healthy. Try these simple tips tonight to wake up with a bright smile tomorrow.

Brush, Rinse and Floss

Using the correct-sized toothbrush for your mouth, brush your teeth before going to bed each night. Brushing allows particles of food and plaque to be removed from the mouth. Tilt the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle in order to gently clean your gums as you brush, which helps to prevent gingivitis. Remember that a firm toothbrush isn't necessarily better, as it can remove the protective enamel from the teeth. After brushing the front and back of the teeth for two minutes, vigorously rinse your mouth. Afterward, floss in-between each tooth in order to remove any remaining food and to keep the gums and teeth healthy.

Consider Using Mouthwash

Though mouthwash, or mouth rinse, is not a substitute for brushing and flossing, using mouthwash after brushing and flossing can add a protective measure to your teeth. Mouthwashes typically contain antimicrobial agents, fluoride, astringent salts and/or odor neutralizers. Different mouthwashes have different benefits, which vary from freshening breath to preventing cavities. Follow the directions on your mouthwash for the proper amount of time to swish each evening.

Protect Your Teeth From Clenching and Grinding

Stress, anxiety, sleep apnea and crooked teeth can all lead to teeth grinding and clenching at night. Waking up with a sore jaw or a dull headache are often signs that grinding has occurred. Grinding can wear teeth down and cause fractured teeth. Ask your dentist if your teeth have any signs of grinding. If they do, prevent further damage from occurring by using a mouth guard when you sleep.

Nighttime oral care shouldn't be a bother. Get into the habit of caring for your teeth each night in order to prevent future dental problems and pain in the future.