While may know the importance of brushing your teeth before bed, you may find that you simply swipe the brush around your mouth a few times to speed up the process so you can get some sleep. However, there are reasons why a full, proper oral hygiene routine at night is crucial for your dental health.
1. Brushing Thoroughly With Fluoridated Toothpaste Cleans Teeth and Strengthens Enamel
One important part of any dental health regimen is to brush your teeth. However, if you are tired and do only brush your teeth for a few seconds before you go to bed, you are not fully cleaning your teeth. Since you do not use your mouth during the night, any remaining food on your teeth and gums will start to harden, leading to tartar and plaque buildup.
Also, you should use a fluoridated toothpaste whenever you brush your teeth, but you should do so especially at bedtime. If you only spit out the excess and do not rinse your mouth with water after brushing your teeth, the fluoride will coat the enamel and help to strengthen it as you sleep.
2. Flossing Removes Food Particles That Feed Bacteria
After a long day, you are probably anxious to get to bed and may forego flossing your teeth. However, since flossing removes all of the stuck-on food between your teeth, neglecting to do this step at night can adversely affect your dental health.
Because the food sits in the gaps between your teeth overnight, it can become a food source for any bacteria in your mouth. This helps the bacteria to grow and settle on your teeth and gums, leading to problems such as cavities and gum disease.
3. Rinsing With Antiseptic Mouthwash Kills Bacteria
Along with brushing and flossing your teeth before you go to bed, you should also rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash. Even if you have thoroughly cleaned your teeth, any bacteria that remain in your mouth can still continue to grow.
As you sleep, your saliva production is usually reduced. Because of this, your body's natural cleansing agent for your mouth is not as efficient, which allows the bacteria to thrive in the drier, warm environment. However, if you use an antiseptic mouthwash, it will kill the germs that are already present, as well as leave behind a residue to keep killing bacteria as your sleep.
Keeping up with a solid bedtime oral hygiene routine can help improve your overall dental health. For more information or recommendations on products to use at night, speak with your dentist at your next appointment.