While it may seem tempting to skip brushing your teeth at night if you’re already comfortably lying in bed, the importance of brushing your teeth twice a day goes beyond fresh breath. Skipping brushing at night because you don’t want to get up or don’t think it’s worth it can cause major problems for your teeth in the long run.
The Importance of Brushing Twice a Day
Brushing your teeth at least twice within a 24-hour period is extremely important. Every time you skip brushing your teeth, you are encouraging the buildup of bacteria that would’ve been destroyed with an easy, two-minute brush.
Dentists claim brushing before bed is the most important time to brush because at night, your saliva production decreases. Saliva is the mouth’s natural defense against bacteria in the mouth because it has anti-bacterial properties, neutralizes the acid level in your mouth, and washes away food remnants.
How Plaque Builds Up When You Don’t Brush
Bacteria in your mouth that stays there after you skip brushing before bed creates plaque. Plaque is the sticky, fuzzy substance you feel along your teeth when you haven’t brushed in a while. It takes about 24 hours for the plaque that bacteria produce to build up and mature in your mouth.
When you do brush, you destroy this growth of bacteria that has developed since you last brushed.
When plaque stays on your teeth after you skip brushing, it calcifies by becoming harder, rougher, and more yellow. This new substance is known as tartar, and it continues to grow the more you skip brushing your teeth. Eventually, tartar buildup can cause cavities and tooth loss because it can only truly be removed by a visit to the dentist’s office. Tartar can also cause gum disease, which leads to bleeding, inflammation, and discomfort in your gums. Gum Disease can range from mild to severe depending on how much you have neglected caring for your teeth. In the most severe cases, gum disease can cause gum destruction and bone loss which can lead to losing teeth.
It’s especially important to brush before you go to bed because while you are asleep, your bodily functions are in resting mode. That means that your mouth and teeth are inactive, so they don’t produce the same amount of saliva that they usually do when you’re awake. Saliva is your body’s natural protector for your mouth because it maintains the pH balance that is ideal for healthy teeth. Saliva contains bicarbonate, calcium, and phosphate, which help your mouth destroy plaque and repair damage and decay on your teeth.
So, make sure you’re regularly scheduling dentist visits to avoid the buildup of plaque and destruction of your teeth. Also make sure you’re thoroughly brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste.
Next time you’re thinking about skipping brushing your teeth at night, run your tongue over your teeth and think about what you are going to let grow in your mouth overnight.