Don’t underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. The eight hours we spend snoozing serve an important purpose for our overall wellness. Obviously, not getting enough sleep can result in crankiness and loss of focus. In addition to the mental and physical repercussions of a lack of sleep, there are plenty of other sleep-related issues that can affect our health. For most of our readers, oral health won’t be the first thing to come to mind when it comes to problems with sleep. Despite how unrelated these two topics may seem, your teeth can certainly be affected by your personal sleep habits. Habits like midnight snacking and grinding your teeth in your sleep can take a toll on the health of your teeth and gums after enough time. To explain more about the connection between oral health and sleep, Dr. Devang Shah gives his patients here in Alpharetta, GA an in-depth look at how various sleep habits affect the health of teeth and gums.
The Impact of Sleep Habits on Your Oral Health
Getting sufficient sleep and having good oral health actually work hand-in-hand. Oral health habits can affect your ability to get a good night’s rest and vice versa. There are all sorts of sleep habits or sleep disorders that influence our quality of sleep and oral health. Here’s a look at some of the most common ways sleep can affect your pearly whites:
- Midnight Snacking: Ever wake up in the middle of the night and crave a snack? Like most of us, you’re probably guilty of indulging in some late-night snacking. Eating during the middle of the night every once in awhile won’t have much of an impact on your oral health. However, individuals that snack every night should look out for their oral health. Studies show that saliva production significantly decreases throughout the night. Saliva is important while we eat because it helps wash away extra food debris or bacteria in our mouth. Without the protection of saliva, you’ll face an increase in the likelihood of tooth decay because bacteria feed upon sugars and debris left over in the mouth.
- Bruxism: Grinding or clenching your teeth, also known as bruxism, can occur at any time of day, but we’ve noticed that many individuals can grind or clench their teeth while unconscious. Grinding or clenching teeth while asleep is quite common and can occur due to various reasons. Bruxism can occur because of stress, a misaligned bite or caffeine before bed. Bruxism harms your smile because it places an enormous amount of pressure on your teeth. After enough time, you can grind away at your teeth and become more prone to tooth fractures and chipping.
- Insomnia: Getting enough sleep is vital to the repairing of your body. It’s also important for the health of your immune system. Those suffering from insomnia will often notice a decline in health, and this applies to their oral health as well. If you’re already dealing with problems like gum disease, not getting enough sleep will make it even more difficult to fight off infections in the gums. Studies often link depression with insomnia, which will also affect the likelihood of an individual to make self-care a priority. The result can be poor oral hygiene, which will also affect oral health.
- Mouth Breathing: Waking up with a dry mouth can happen from time to time. It really starts to affect your oral health when it happens every night. Falling asleep with your mouth open will result in dry mouth and end up affecting your teeth in the same way that midnight snacking will. Saliva is a very important defense mechanism for your oral health because it helps prevent enamel erosion and tooth decay. Acids present in the mouth are the root cause of both of these issues because it will wear away at the tooth’s protective enamel and make the tooth more prone to decay. Studies show that the acidity level is higher in individuals that mouth breath than individuals that breath with their mouth closed.
As you can see, there are many ways your sleep habits can affect the health of your smile. If you notice your smile is damaged due to these sleep habits (or any other reason), consider visiting our office. We offer a range of options which can help with restorative or cosmetic dental services. For more information, contact our office and set up your appointment today!