You are likely familiar with the general discomfort your body experiences after a night of little to no sleep, but have you noticed the effect it plays on your oral health? Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for overall health and well-being, and it is no different when it comes to oral health. Continue reading to discover how sleep, or lack thereof, affects your oral health.
One way sleep can affect oral health is through dry mouth. Saliva is important for maintaining healthy teeth and gums, as it neutralizes the acids produced by bacteria in the mouth and washes away food particles. When we sleep, saliva production decreases, which can lead to dry mouth.
Grinding and Clenching
Another way sleep can affect oral health is through grinding and clenching of the teeth, also known as bruxism. Bruxism is a sleep disorder that can cause damage to the teeth and jaw. It can lead to tooth sensitivity, worn-down teeth, and even tooth loss. If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth at night, it is important to speak to your dental care provider about treatment options.
Stress, Sleep, and Overall Oral Health
When we don’t get enough sleep, our bodies produce higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol can weaken the immune system, making us more susceptible to infections, including those in the mouth. Lack of sleep can also lead to poor oral hygiene, as you may be too tired to brush and floss properly.
To ensure good oral health while you sleep, it is important to practice proper oral hygiene habits before bed including brushing and flossing your teeth. It is also important to stay hydrated by drinking water, as it can help stimulate saliva production and prevent dry mouth.