You probably have a nighttime ritual that you go through every night before hopping into bed. The bacteria in your mouth don’t sleep when you do, so it’s important to take proper care of your mouth before lying down. Dr. Locke wants to make sure you’re practicing good oral behaviors to protect your smile while you sleep.
Nighttime Oral Hygiene
When you sleep, your saliva flow decreases, so there is no moisture to rinse away oral bacteria. Any food particles left on your teeth can feed bacteria all night long. Be sure you brush and floss your teeth thoroughly before going to bed to avoid waking up with a cavity. You should also use a mouthwash to help destroy any germs hiding in your mouth. In addition, drink water periodically during the night so you can keep your mouth moist to help wash away bacteria and prevent bad morning breath.
Sleep disorders can interrupt your sleep and impact your oral health. During sleep apnea, the soft tissues in your mouth and throat relax, blocking your airflow. You will likely wake up several times during the night to catch your breath. These interruptions prevent you from getting the deep sleep you need. Ask Dr. Locke if you need an oral appliance to help relax your muscles and keep your airway open. In addition, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) generally worsens during sleep because you swallow less frequently. GERD causes your stomach acids to come up through your mouth. These acids make contact with your teeth and can cause your enamel to erode. Oral appliances can decrease your muscle strains and block stomach acids from entering your mouth.
Unconsciously clenching and grinding your teeth, also known as bruxism, forces your teeth together and applies extreme pressure on your jaw. Bruxism can cause tooth pain, worn teeth, TMJ misalignments, neck pain, headaches, and jaw aches. To protect your teeth from nighttime grinding, Dr. Locke can fit you for a custom nightguard or provide therapy to relax your muscles.
Taking proper care of your mouth before you go to bed will prevent dental problems from developing during the night. Ask Dr. Locke which bedtime oral habits can help protect your teeth while you sleep. Contact our dentist office in Waco, Texas at (254) 776-4888 to schedule an appointment to relieve your dental sleep problems. We welcome patients from Waco, Woodway, McGregor, Hewitt, and surrounding Central Texas communities.