8 night-time tips to help improve your oral health

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We all know the story: we go for our regular dental check-up, and the dentist finds a new cavity. After all those daily tooth brushing sessions, how could this be? What did we miss?

It turns out, we’re missing a lot when we don’t perform a thorough oral routine in the evening. There’s a lot of activity inside the mouth even while sleeping, so here are some evening tips to help keep your oral health in tiptop shape.

1. Brush your teeth before bedtime

Brushing teeth is a must in everyone’s morning routine. After all, nobody wants to smell that dreaded morning breath. But what about at night, right before bedtime?

While it may feel cumbersome, the evening brush is just as important as the morning one. Unlike you, the bacteria inside your mouth don’t sleep. Their overnight work puts more plaque on your teeth increasing your risk of tartar, cavities, and gingivitis.

The longer plaque sits there, the more damage it causes. Brushing your teeth removes the accumulated plaque, helping you get that fresh smile while avoiding nasty tooth decay.

2. Don’t skip flossing

Brushing is not the only way to eliminate plaque closer to the gum line or between the teeth. Our toothbrush can only reach so far, so make sure you floss to get the rest, especially the debris trapped in the crevices of the teeth in the back of your mouth. And if perfectly clean teeth before sleeping is not enough of an incentive: flossing also reduces bad breath.

3. Use electric toothbrush

An electric toothbrush can help you remove more plaque and debris. Because electric brushes have a uniform movement, they are less likely to miss spots than manual brushing.

If you want to buy an electric brush, make sure to purchase one with an oscillating or rotating head. These brushes have heads that go in alternate directions and are more effective than ones that spin in one direction. Your local dentist will be able to recommend one for you if you’re unsure.

4. Clean your tongue

If you ever wake up with a bad taste in your mouth, your tongue may be the culprit. Eating leaves bacteria on your tongue and leaving your teeth unbrushed overnight allows the bacteria to release foul-smelling compounds.

Using the tongue cleaner on the back of your toothbrush should be enough to get those nasty bacteria off. If you really want to make sure they’re gone, use a dedicated tongue scraper.

5. Use mouthwash

You brushed your teeth, you flossed, and you scraped your tongue. You’re done, right?

Not yet. Swish around some mouthwash to make sure everything is clean. The swishing action covers whatever spots the brush and floss missed. And if you have a fluoride mouthwash, using it at night gives your teeth a fresh coat of protection.

Therapeutic mouthwashes can help to eradicate signs of gum disease so don’t miss this important step in your night routine.

6. Foods to avoid before going to bed

While it may be tempting to snooze early after eating a snack, eating too soon before bedtime can cause harm to your oral health. Here’s a list of foods to avoid before sleeping:

  • Chocolate –Not only can chocolate keep you up because of the caffeine, but the sugar can cause more bacteria inside the mouth. That means more plaque to clean.
  • Spicy food –Spicy foods increase acid in your mouth. When these acids have contact with your teeth; the enamel wears away. Brushing your teeth immediately after eating something acidic is also harmful because of increased risk for tooth abrasion. The safe time to brush? At least 30 minutes after eating.
  • Fruity yogurt – In any other setting, yoghurt is a perfectly viable snack. But eating yogurt before bedtime increases the amount of sugar in your mouth. Depending on the fruit involved, it may also increase acid which is harmful to your enamel.

7. Have a healthy bedtime snack

If you really want to munch on something before going to bed, try almonds, celery, apples or carrots. They help increase saliva production, which in turn helps protect your tooth enamel and prevents bad breath.

The crunching and chewing also helps to remove food debris from the surface of your teeth. Just make sure to brush, floss, and gargle mouthwash before you go to bed.

8. Visit your dentist regularly

Your dentist will be the first to notice the state of your teeth and oral health. He or she will also be able to spot any new problems and keep an eye on them over time. If you’re experiencing chronic issues like tooth decay or gum disease, improving your oral health with a good night routine can definitely pay off in the long run.

Written by Bryan, from York House Dentists in Chesham & Amersham, maintaining and improving smiles for nearly 30 years with a comforting combination of expertise, experience and exceptional standards. For more details feel free to visit www.yorkhousedentists.co.uk

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