We’ve all been there. It’s late, you are tired and you just want to slip into bed without brushing your teeth. What’s the real harm to skip a few nights of brushing anyways, right? Wrong! Dentists recommend you brush your teeth in the morning and at night for a reason. Here are some reasons why nighttime brushing is the most important time to brush.
It is fairly simple. During the day, your mouth is producing significant amounts of saliva, which is basically a cleansing bath for your teeth. Saliva not only keeps our mouth moist for comfortable talking and chewing, but it is responsible for rinsing away bacteria left behind from the foods you eat as well as neutralizing harmful acids. However, at night the secretion of saliva decreases dramatically as you sleep. Therefore, your teeth are more susceptible to damage from cavity causing bacteria and acids left in your mouth.
Remember that the purpose of brushing is to refresh and eliminate microbes on the surfaces of your teeth, preventing a stagnant layer of plaque from developing. Plaque begins to buildup as soon as 20 minutes after you eat or drink. Neglecting to brush altogether before bed is an open invitation for tooth decay, as you are allowing bacterial plaques to mature undisturbed overnight, which leads to colonization of acid producing bacteria and eventually cavities.
Let’s not also forget about bad breath. Morning breath can be bad enough when you do brush before bed, so imagine the foul odor that comes from your mouth after nearly a full day without toothpaste and a toothbrush and several hours of bacteria partying inside a dry mouth.
Lastly, your teeth need the nighttime hours as period of recovery from the wear and tear of the day. Leaving food on your teeth can disrupt the recovery process that your smile needs to stay healthy. In addition, you are depriving your teeth of vital fluoride that comes from toothpaste, which is essential to remineralize your teeth.
Now that you have learned the reason your dentist wants you to brush before bed, we hope you will think twice before skipping your nighttime oral hygiene routine. Brush for the full two minutes, floss diligently and rinse with a fluoride mouthwash before hitting the sack – your smile will thank you!