Monday, November 30, 2015

Sleep Tight, Pearly White

Many good things happen when we sleep. Our bodies recharge as our brains rest, helping us to stay healthy and productive. But for our mouths, nighttime can be a dangerous time of day. That’s because we swallow less when we sleep, and less saliva moving through the oral cavity means a greater opportunity for bacteria to grow and thrive. Because bacteria cause tooth decay and gum disease, eliminating them is essential to your dental health.
How do you guard against dental disease? Proper nighttime oral hygiene. By following these easy steps, you can help your mouth stay healthy:
1. Brush away the day. For those more susceptible to decay, brush your teeth immediately after dinner, and then again right before bed. Lower-risk individuals can simply brush once before they go to sleep. (Ask us which category you’re in.) Make sure you use a good brushing technique, cleaning all the surfaces of your teeth with gentle, short strokes. And remember―don’t eat or drink anything except water after you brush, or you’ll need to brush all over again.
2. Don’t forget to floss. Even if you’re a champion brusher, flossing needs to be part of your nightly routine. Plaque builds up between your teeth, and it must be removed before it hardens. Little particles of food can also become wedged in there, and a toothbrush can’t always get rid of them. Without flossing, these particles act as a breeding ground for bacteria all through the night.
3. Consider using mouthwash. While not as important as brushing and flossing, specific mouthwashes can help strengthen teeth, prevent dry mouth and freshen breath. The additional rinse also helps ensure that anything brushing and flossing loosened up gets washed completely out of your mouth.
Perform all three of these steps every evening, and your mouth will thank you for it. After all, the rest of your body loves sleeping―shouldn’t your teeth enjoy a healthy night’s slumber as well?

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