Have you ever gone to sleep without brushing your teeth? You may think “Oh it’s just this one time,” but after reading this you will never have that “one time” again! We all know that we are supposed to brush and floss our teeth at least twice a day, but what exactly happens when two times reduces to one?
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), brushing is not only valuable to avoid bad breath. If our busy lives or forgetfulness inhibit us from remembering to brush at night, the bacteria in our mouth will continue to accumulate, leading to diseases of the gum and multiple cavities.
Brushing disrupts the bacteria so it doesn’t stay in place and cause these problems. If this buildup continues however, it could potentially lead to worse conditions including severe bleeding, and possible loss of teeth. The bacterium that builds up in our mouth by the time we go to bed becomes “more active” when the levels of saliva becomes low. Saliva is a regular protector of your mouth, and at night when the production of saliva is low, we are more apt to develop decay. If we disrupt that bacteria by brushing before bed and when we get up in the morning it will put us at less of a risk for harmful outcomes.
Specifically, in terms of buildup, the “blanket of plaque bacteria” sitting on our teeth as we forget to brush at night is simply adding to the 600 types of other bacteria present in the human mouth. The plaque coats on a film like substance (or biofilm) and remains there until hopefully swept away by a brush. In addition to remembering to brush, we also must do a thorough job of cleaning. Whether you have to set a two-minute timer to cover each spot equally, or use stronger, fluoride infused toothpaste, there are many ways to avoid these conditions. If you have any questions regarding brushing, or what specific techniques are necessary for your teeth specifically discuss it with your dentist at your next visit.
Neglecting to brush, or thinking that “gum, mints, or mouthwash will simply replace the action” is not enough. Scheduling and implementing the correct daily routine will prevent you from developing unhealthy teeth, and will leave you feeling fresh, clean, and confident.