Have you ever wondered why your dentist always says that you should brush your teeth before going to bed? Many of us have heard this since young but may not have taken the time to think about why this is so important.
Sleep and dental health are actually correlated and having a good sleep has so many more positive effects on your dental health than you can imagine. Healthy sleep habits can:
In contrast, bad sleep habits can affect your oral health, and even lead to painful dental issues. If you think your sleep habits might be affecting you, this is the right time to start taking this statement firmly and make a change before more serious problems develop.
If you experience headaches and a clenched jaw when you wake up, you might be experiencing bruxism (unconsciously grinding or clenching your teeth). Clenching your jaw as you sleep is a bad habit that can be caused by stress or substances such as alcohol, cigarettes, or tobacco. Teeth grinding is a similar occurrence that can also be alarming if it becomes a regular habit.
If you happen to notice a tight jaw or sore teeth in the mornings, seek advice from your dentist. Teeth grinding can cause excessive wear and tear and can even crack your tooth enamel. Many who experience it usually don’t realise it’s happening until these symptoms begin to show. While dental crowns and dental implants can help treat dental problems resulting from these, you should try and resolve these issues as soon as possible to avoid surgical options.
Sleep apnea happens when your breathing stops and starts during sleep. It can be a serious sleep disorder, and more severe cases may require you to use a CPAP machine to ensure you keep breathing through the night. It is often correlated to other health factors or conditions.
2 more common and less serious similar bad sleep habits are snoring and sleeping with your mouth open. All 3 habits can lead to a similar dental hygiene problem: increased risk of plaque and cavities.
These habits expose your teeth and gums to air, drying out the saliva in your mouth. Saliva serves as a protective barrier for your teeth, protecting your mouth’s inner surfaces from dead cells, harmful bacteria, and other microorganisms. When your mouth is dry, bacteria can digest sugars left behind after eating, resulting in plaque buildup. If left untreated, this can eventually lead to cavities, gum disease, or tooth loss.
There are several ways to manage and treat the effects of common bad sleep habits on your oral health such as tooth decay, accelerated wear and tear, plaque and tartar buildup, and gum diseases or infections. Many sleep habits such as teeth grinding and clenched jaw are unconscious and can be stopped with lifestyle changes or conscious behavioural changes.
Treatments for dental problems vary depending on severity and may include:
Our trained dentists at Family Dental Centre are able to conduct oral health checks to help you determine your oral health and can even recommend ways to tackle these bad sleep habits. If any specific treatments are necessary, our dentists can treat you at any of our clinics islandwide in Singapore.