Why It’s Important to Brush Your Teeth Before Going to Bed

You come home after a long day at the office and playing chauffeur for your kids’ after-school activities. The day whirled by and now you’re exhausted. All you want to do is fall into your bed and get some much-deserved Z’s.

After the kids have gone to sleep, now you have your bedtime routine to do: wash your face, change into your PJs and brush your teeth. Perhaps you also need to take a shower as you slept in and didn’t have time in the morning to take one.

You figure you’ll wake up extra early tomorrow to shower, so you change and wash your face. While at the sink you contemplate brushing your teeth.

It’s only one night, you reason, what’s the worse that can happen? So you decide to climb into bed with a clean face, but a dirty mouth.

Why is it important to brush your teeth twice a day, and especially at bedtime?

You may think that because you’re not eating or drinking anything other than water while you sleep, that your mouth should be fine until morning. After all, it seems like your saliva has pretty well done away with the lunch, dinner and snacks you’ve enjoyed over the course of the day.

Your mouth, however, is quite active at night.

While you’re off in dreamland, there are numerous chemical reactions and compound breakdowns occurring in your mouth. And not all of them are good.

When you don’t brush your teeth before going to bed, your dirty mouth becomes a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. The bacteria in your mouth will feast on the leftover food particles from the meals you had during the day. The bacteria excrete waste, just like any other living organism. The waste from the bacteria is very acidic and it breaks down, weakens and destroys tooth enamel, which makes your teeth and gums susceptible to decay and disease.

To add to the favorable environment for bacteria and plaque to flourish, is the decrease of saliva production.

Saliva is your body’s built-in mouthwash. During the day, the saliva glands are activated, producing a moist mouth all day long.

During the evening when you go to bed, however, that changes. The saliva production ceases, causing the mouth to get dry. A dry mouth has no way to get clean and wash away germs and bacteria.

The enamel destroying waste is called plaque and its stickiness makes it firmly adhere to the outer surface of teeth. If the plaque isn’t removed with flossing and brushing, it will buildup and harden into tartar. Tartar can only be removed by a dental professional.

The plaque and tartar buildup not only have a negative impact on your teeth, but it also negatively impacts your gums.

Your immune system will get signals from the gums to attack the plaque and tartar. Inflammation is a common symptom of your immune system attacking an infection. The gums will get swollen and inflamed. In the process of attacking the plaque and tartar, some of the healthy, good gum tissue will also be attacked and destroyed. This will lead to receding gums.

Receding gums provide additional spaces for bacteria, plaque and tartar to accumulate. It also weakens the support of the teeth, making them more likely to get loose.

While cavities, tooth loss and gum disease won’t happen overnight, but rather, will occur over time, just skipping the brushing and flossing of one’s teeth for one night can make it tempting to become a destructive habit. Many cavities don’t start with any pain or noticeable symptoms so many patients don’t know they have cavities.

While you may not always feel like brushing your teeth at the end of a long day, your mouth will thank you. There are many gross and nasty things that happen in your mouth while you sleep and going to bed with a clean mouth will reduce the nastiness and destructive nature of these natural events.

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