When it comes to keeping your teeth and gums healthy, brushing twice a day – once in the morning and once before bed – is a no-brainer; in fact, for most of us, it’s probably one of the first oral health lessons we learn in childhood. But is all that brushing necessary? And if you brush your teeth in the morning to get rid of that sticky film and bad morning breath, why bother brushing before bed when you’re just going to repeat the process a few hours later? Is skipping nighttime brushing such a bad thing? The answer (probably not too surprisingly) is yes, and here’s why.
The Advantages of Brushing at Night
First, when you don’t brush your teeth before bed, all those tiny food particles that are trapped between your teeth and along your gums are much more likely to cause cavities. After all, it just makes sense that the longer food particles stay in contact with your tooth surface, the more likely they are to begin to eat away at your tooth enamel, causing weak spots in your teeth that can turn into painful cavities. Most foods contain acids or sugars, both of which can be very damaging to teeth. Brushing before bed (and flossing too) removes these tiny particles so they don’t have a chance to cause tooth decay.
And cavities aren’t the only possible consequence of failing to brush at night. Gum disease is another very real possibility. Gum disease is really common – and it’s also the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the U.S. The disease is pretty subtle in its early stages, and that means your teeth and the gums around them could be damaged without your realizing it. Gum disease is caused by bacteria that live in sticky plaque and hard tartar, and routine (that means twice-a-day) brushing is the best way to get rid of plaque and prevent it from turning into hard tartar deposits that require dental tools to remove.
As important as it is to brush before bed, your brushing technique counts just as much. Ideally, you want to brush for two minutes (it’s really not that long) with a soft-bristled brush, taking care to reach all the surfaces of your teeth to remove plaque and food debris. Don’t be tempted to substitute brushing before bed with a quick swish of mouthwash – even though it may contain products to kill germs, it’s no replacement for a good brushing routine. And don’t skip flossing. It takes no longer than brushing, and together, that means you need to invest less than five minutes before hitting the sack to prevent serious oral health problems and substantially improve the health of your teeth and gums.
The last reminder: have your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year. It’s another relatively small investment of time that can save you a lot of headaches (and money) in the future. Plus, during your cleaning we can show you how to improve your brushing and flossing techniques so you can do an even better job at preventing cavities and gum disease. Is it time for your checkup? Call Empire Dental at 732-607-0909 and schedule your appointment today.