Seeing your dentist for preventive care visits is important, but did you know that there’s something even more important you need to do for your oral health? Preventing cavities and tooth decay begins with your oral hygiene routine, which should include both morning and nighttime care. Most of us regularly brush our teeth in the morning, but removing plaque at night helps to prevent oral bacteria from causing cavities while you sleep. Dr. Roy Eskow is a Bethesda, MD dentist who helps patients take care of their teeth so they can have healthy, beautiful smiles. Learn more about how you can improve your nighttime oral health routine.
1. Don’t skip your oral hygiene.
When you’re tired and ready for bed, it’s easy to just skip brushing and flossing your teeth or rush through them haphazardly. However, after a full day of eating and drinking, it’s vital to remove the plaque that has formed to prevent oral bacteria from feeding and multiplying in your mouth while you sleep.
Use dental floss to clean out leftover food particles and plaque from 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. Be sure to get those hard-to-reach places such as behind the teeth!
2. Floss before bed.
After a day of normal eating and drinking, plaque has built up on the teeth. Oral bacteria in plaque love the dark, moist environment that is your mouth 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. Use an electric toothbrush.
While it’s not completely necessary, using an electric toothbrush might help some people improve their nighttime oral hygiene routine. An electric toothbrush provides powerful brushing movements that can remove plaque from the teeth more efficiently than a manual toothbrush. Also, using a neat gadget to brush your teeth can make you more likely to take the extra few minutes necessary to brush your teeth.
4. Make sure you don’t grind your teeth.
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 cause considerable damage to your tooth enamel. If you suspect you grind your teeth at night, discuss getting a mouth guard to wear while you’re sleeping with your dentist.
Promoting Healthy Smiles in Bethesda, MD
Faithfully caring for your teeth at night will help keep your smile healthy and beautiful for years to come. In addition to regular visits with Dr. Eskow, make sure your at-home oral hygiene routine includes both morning and nighttime teeth care. Contact our Bethesda office online or by phone at (301) 200-5222 to schedule your appointment.