3 Nighttime Dental Tips

When it comes to protecting your mouth, teeth and gums, brushing and regular visits to the dentist are a great start. However, they should not be your only approaches. There are several other things you can do to protect your smile, especially at night. Learn about some of the best nighttime practices that can keep your mouth healthier.

1. Stop After Brushing

When you brush before bed, you want to make sure you are finished eating and drinking — even water. When you eat or drink, especially sugary foods or drinks, you only add more food particles in your mouth, which could increase your risk of tooth decay. 

In terms of water, certain toothpaste and mouthwashes recommend that you not eat or drink for a specific amount of time to maximize the benefit of the solution. Whatever you eat or drink after you brush, you are basically canceling any benefit that you had hoped brushing would have extended to you. Don't brush until you know you're done for the evening. 

2. Remember to Floss

Ideally, you want to floss throughout the day, but if you forget to do so early in the day, at the very least, you should floss your teeth before bed. When you eat throughout the day, food particles get lodged in between your teeth. The longer these particles get to stay inside your mouth, the greater your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. 

When you go to bed without flossing, the process is basically the same as you going to bed with all the food you ate from the day still inside your mouth.

3. Monitor Grinding

Do you suspect you grind your teeth at night? If your partner tells you that they hear your teeth clenching or you wake up with unexplained headaches in the morning, tooth grinding could be to blame. Teeth grinding, formally known as bruxism, can lead to tooth sensitivity and damage your tooth's structure. You need to talk to your provider about treatment options for the condition, such as a mouth guard. 

Bruxism can occur for a variety of different reasons, including stress. But it can also be the result of an underlying medical concern. So, even if your oral health is not affected by the issue, you should still seek treatment. 

The more effort you put into protecting your teeth at night, the better. Speak to your dentist to learn about dental care and some additional steps you can take to protect your teeth at night.