Your preventive dental care visits are an important part of your oral health care, but your at-home dental hygiene is even more crucial. Preventing cavities and tooth decay starts with your oral hygiene routine, which needs to include both morning and nighttime care. Most of us regularly brush our teeth in the morning, but removing plaque at night will help prevent oral bacteria from causing cavities while you sleep. Learn 4 tips to improve your nighttime oral hygiene with Annapolis MD dental office Wooddell & Passaro Restorative and Esthetic Dentistry.
1. Brush and floss for the right amount of time
When you’re tired and ready for bed, it’s easy to rush through or skip brushing and flossing your teeth. However, after a full day of eating and drinking, it’s important to remove the plaque that has formed to keep oral bacteria from feeding and multiplying in your mouth while you sleep.
Use dental floss to remove leftover food particles and plaque in between teeth, where much of the plaque lives, and gently brush teeth for two minutes using a soft-bristled toothbrush and an ADA-approved toothpaste. Don’t miss those hard-to-reach places such as behind the teeth!
2. Floss before bed
Did you know that almost half of the plaque in your mouth is between the teeth where you can’t brush it away? Oral bacteria in plaque love the dark, moist environment in your mouth while sleeping, and plaque will continue to build up while you sleep. While your dentist would like you to floss more than once a day, if you’re only going to floss once a day, make it before bed to avoid plaque building up even further during sleep.
3. Try an electric toothbrush
Patients with difficulty brushing their teeth due to arthritis or other motor conditions may benefit from an electric toothbrush. It’s not totally necessary, but the powerful brushing movements can really help patients remove plaque more efficiently than a manual toothbrush. Plus, if it’s a tool you look forward to using, it might be easier to take the extra two minutes to brush your teeth before bed.
4. Find out if you need a mouthguard at night
Many people grind their teeth at night without realizing it. If you wake up with a sore jaw or often find yourself carrying tension in the jaw or neck, you may be suffering from bruxism, or tooth grinding. Over time this can lead to tooth damage. If you suspect you grind your teeth at night, talk to your dentist about getting a mouth guard to wear while you’re sleeping.
Preventative and Restorative Dentist in Crofton MD
Taking care of your teeth at night will help keep your smile healthy and beautiful for years to come. In addition to regular visits with Wooddell & Passaro, make sure your at-home oral hygiene routine includes both morning and nighttime teeth care. Contact our office online or by phone at (410) 343-7075 to schedule your appointment.