sleep apneaYour routine preventive dental care visits are an important part of your oral health care, but dutifully performing your at-home dental hygiene is even more crucial. 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. Learn 4 tips to improve your nighttime oral hygiene with Chesapeake, VA dental office of Dr. John C. Cranham.

1. Brush and floss for the right amount of time

When you’re tired and ready for bed, it’s easy to rush through brushing and flossing your teeth or just skip them all together. However, after a full day of eating and drinking, it’s essential 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 remove leftover food particles and plaque in 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. Don’t forget those hard-to-reach places such as behind the teeth!

2. Floss before bed

Did you know that almost half of the plaque in your mouth can be found between the teeth where you can’t easily brush it away? The hungry oral bacteria that feed on plaque love the dark, moist environment in your mouth while sleeping, and plaque will only continue to build up while you sleep. Although your dentist would like you to floss after every meal for the best results, if you’re only going to floss once a day, you should do it before bed to avoid the further accumulation of plaque during sleep.

3. Try an electric toothbrush

Patients with difficulty brushing their teeth due to arthritis or other motor conditions may benefit from using an electric toothbrush. It’s not totally necessary, but the powerful brushing movements can really help patients brush away plaque more efficiently than a manual toothbrush. Besides, some people enjoy using them so it might be easier to take the extra two minutes to brush your teeth before bed if you know you’ll enjoy the experience..

4. Find out if you need a mouthguard at night

Many people grind their teeth at night in their sleep without realizing it. If you wake up with a sore jaw or often find yourself carrying tension in the jaw or neck region, you may be suffering from teeth grinding, technically known as bruxism. Over time this can lead to tooth damage. If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth at night, talk to your dentist about getting a mouth guard to wear while you’re sleeping.

Preventative and Restorative Dentist in Chesapeake, VA

Caring for your teeth every night will help keep your smile healthy and beautiful for years to come. In addition to regular visits with Dr. Cranham, make sure your at-home oral hygiene routine includes both morning and nighttime teeth care. Contact our office online or by phone at 757.656.4109 to schedule your appointment.

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