Friday, October 6th, 2017
These days, many of us have such busy lives, that it can sometimes be difficult to maintain all of our daily rituals that involve health and beauty. If you’re concerned about maintaining youthful good looks, you probably know that falling asleep without washing your face before bedtime, is a big no no. But what you may now know is that the same goes for brushing your teeth!
To understand the negative ramifications of not brushing your teeth before bed, it’s important to understand how plaque and tartar form on teeth, and what can end up happening if this plaque and tartar is not removed.
Each time you eat something, the natural bacteria within your mouth mixes with the food, creating a thing, invisible yet incredibly sticky film on your teeth. Because this film is so thin, it can get in between your teeth, and even below the gum line.
Over time, if plaque isn’t properly removed from your teeth, it can harden and become what we know as tartar. Tartar is a much more difficult substance to remove from the teeth, and generally requires the skill and tools of a dentist or dental hygienist.
If tartar is left untreated and remains on the teeth, eventually, the following conditions may develop:
When tartar is left untreated along and under the gum line, it will result in puffy swollen gums that may bleed when brushing, and can cause sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks. And given the fact that an overabundance of bacteria is what caused the tartar to appear in the first place, this can’t be good for gums that are beginning to become infected, and can lead to a more serious condition called periodontitis.
Periodontitis – a more serious form of infection than gingivitis – causes inflammation around the teeth. This infection can cause damage to the gums and bones that support the teeth. If not treated immediately, the gums may begin to recede, leading to a loosening of the tooth, and eventually, the tooth falling out.
It’s important to note that both with gingivitis and periodontitis, there is a link to increased risk of strokes and heart attacks if left untreated.
When plaque and tartar are left on the teeth, the bacteria and acids in these substances can begin to break down tooth enamel. This break down will create holes in tooth, more commonly known as cavities.
We all know what a cavity is right? As noted, it is a hole in the tooth, caused by bacteria, and the erosion of the tooth enamel.
Once a cavity occurs, there is only one way to get rid of it – dentists and needles and drills oh my!
And finally, if all of the above conditions are not treated, teeth may begin to loosen and eventually fall out.
Now that you know a little bit more about what can happen if plaque and tartar are not removed from your teeth, let’s take a look at the ways you can prevent it, and the other conditions it can lead to.
Practicing proper dental hygiene is the key to preventing plaque and tartar from forming on your teeth. In particular, following these steps at night before you go to bed, will prevent the formation of plaque and tartar while you sleep.
Flossing is a very important part of dental hygiene. Because plaque is an invisible threat, you won’t be able to see whether or not it has gotten in between teeth. A toothbrush alone is not enough to get into those tiny spaces where bacteria can hide.
Dental floss can get into the nooks and crannies between teeth, to help dislodge food particles, and strip out plaque and bacteria.
Giving your teeth a thorough brushing at least twice a day will help to remove plaque buildup from your teeth. Spend at least two minutes brushing each tooth front to back, and finish up by gently brushing along the gum line to dislodge any remaining food particles. It’s also helpful to brush your tongue to remove food and bacteria buildup that occurs throughout the day.
It’s important to note that you should not brush your teeth and gums too hard – gentle is best, otherwise you run the risk of actually grinding bacteria into teeth and gums.
Once brushed and flossed, it’s a good idea to finish up by rinsing your mouth with an anti-bacterial mouthwash. This will help to reduce the bacteria levels throughout your mouth.
Water is also an excellent way to rinse away food and bacteria if you are out, perhaps in a restaurant, and don’t have your toothbrush and floss available.
Practicing the steps of good oral hygiene listed above will help to prevent plaque from turning into a bigger problem. And seeing your dentist or hygienist for twice yearly professional cleanings will ensure that anything you’ve missed in your daily routine can be addressed. Your hygienist has the proper tools to remove any hardened areas of tartar.
If signs of gingivitis or cavities are present, your dentist will be able to work with you to come up with a treatment plan to nip the problem in the bud.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, it can be difficult in today’s busy world, to stay on top of dental hygiene. Here are a few helpful tips to ensure you are taking care of your teeth before bed:
Brushing your teeth before bed is important to help prevent the formation of plaque and bacteria while you sleep!