Staying on top of oral hygiene can be challenging at times. With so much of our non-leisure time spent home now since everything moved remotely, it can be difficult to find the time to partake in necessary nightly rituals that promote health and hygiene for you and your family.
Flossing can be a bloody bore and brushing twice a day as recommended by dentists everywhere can be difficult to manage while balancing work, life, and school from home. If you’re a working professional constantly moving from one project to the next and have little time to tend to your teeth research suggests brushing your teeth once at night before bed.
Let’s get into the reasoned data behind this and find out what other overreaching benefits you can enjoy when you follow dentists’ orders.
Why dentists recommend brushing before bed
“Bacteria change every 12 hours so in order to keep the population under control, you should be brushing ideally every twelve hours. The one time you don’t want to skip brushing your teeth is before you go to bed because the ‘most dangerous time’ for your teeth is when you’re asleep.
That’s the most dangerous time for teeth because your saliva flow is reduced, and your mouth becomes more acidic. And many people breathe through their mouths at night making their mouths even drier. Saliva is the main protector of our teeth.”
I suppose we can all agree that most likely more than 4 out of 5 dentists agree with the previous sentiment. Since saliva protects our teeth we are better able to prevent oral travesties during the day when we can actively move the saliva around during the waking hours.
It’s obviously better to brush your teeth twice a day and floss regularly but as mentioned before if your schedule is far too packed to make that happen please don’t forget to do so before getting some well-earned sleep.
The benefits behind good oral upkeep
There are the immediate benefits of brushing your teeth regularly such as better breath, a whiter smile, and less expensive trips to your orthodontist. Some more benefits of brushing more often include a lower risk for developing dementia, it helps fight pneumonia, less chance of suffering from kidney disease, and there is a better chance you won’t have to deal with the myriad challenges faced after receiving a diabetes diagnosis.
How does good brushing techniques aid those in lessening their chance of developing neurodegenerative disease dementia? A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society took a poll asking elderly participants how often they brushed their teeth. Those who admitted to poor dental hygiene habits have a 22 to 65% greater chance of developing dementia compared to those who brushed and flossed daily out of the 5,500 patients studied over an 18 year period.
Nightly brushers also fight off pneumonia better than those who don’t brush as often! Those who put forth more effort into taking care of everything behind their charming smile had a 40% less chance of coming down with a bad case of pneumonia. You can find the full groundbreaking 2003 study here in Annals of Periodontology.
Who knew brushing your teeth every night could mitigate the risk of developing kidney disease and diabetes! Poor brushing habits lead to gum disease and adults that suffer from gum disease are 5 times more likely to deal with the uphill battle of fighting kidney disease. If you’d like to find out more about this troubling correlation look at the full study published here.
If you’d like to find out how better periodontal upkeep helps prevent diabetes check out this recent 2020 study published in the medical journal Diabetologia. Brushing at night with a soft-bristled brush results in an 8% decrease in the chance that a person develops diabetes since gum disease and diabetes also have a correlative relationship, usually informed by poor diet habits as well.
I understand brushing your teeth may seem like a throwaway thing to keep up on to ensure we stay healthy. However, it’s not just social downfalls, like bad breath, you’d be faced with if you skip brushing altogether because you’re too busy. More chronic conditions can arise if you don’t brush as often as the American Dental Association recommended twice a day for 2 minutes each time. When 4 minutes of brushing a day seem to be too much for you to keep track of please consider brushing at night to protect your teeth when they need it most. At the very least your sink won’t look like the slasher shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho after flossing.