Every family has a different set of tooth brushing rituals and expectations. There are families where every toothbrush is hung up next to the sink and those where each person keeps a personal kit packed up in their room. Some families brush three times a day, some brush only once. However, the biggest debate in casual dental health is whether or not it’s better to brush your teeth at bedtime or after waking up. While it’s true that brushing in the morning will ensure that you have fresh breath and sparkling teeth to present to the world, from a dentist’s perspective, brushing at night is always the better choice.
The All Night Plaque Party
The food that you eat throughout the day leaves a certain amount of residue in your mouth and some bits are so small that they can start invisibly coating your teeth and gums. Sugar is one of the worst culprits but really any kind of food particle can start to form plaque in your mouth. Not brushing during the day is understandable, but if you don’t brush at night, food particles from your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and any snacks are all still sitting on your teeth while you sleep.
This forms the all-night plaque party where old food particles from every meal that day get together and start working away at your gum health and tooth enamel. Going to bed without brushing is practically asking the plaque to build up and weaken your teeth.
The Real Cause of Morning Breath
Having thought about what’s going on in your mouth when you sleep, what do you think is the true source of that rotten taste and smell commonly known as ‘morning breath’? That’s right, it’s from all those decaying foot particles just sitting in your mouth as you sleep. Given time, these particles will break down, rot, and become a combination of foul-smelling plaque and bacteria that make your gums sore and your teeth sensitive.
To avoid the affliction of morning breath and the unpleasant mouth feeling that comes along with it, your best bet is to do a full dental hygiene routine between any bedtime snacks and actual bedtime. Make sure to brush every surface of your teeth, floss in between them, and use mouthwash to kill any lingering bad bacteria. This will leave your mouth feeling tangy when you go to sleep, then clean and fresh when you wake up.
Sleep and the Bedtime Ritual
The final benefit of a bedtime toothbrushing routine is that it can actually help you sleep better. Not just with the benefit of clean teeth, having a specific set of things you do before sleeping will help your mind get ready to sleep. No matter what else you do in a day, simply brushing your teeth before crawling into bed will help you to relax and expect sleep. When your head finally hits the pillow, being ready to sleep will actually help you fall asleep faster and more completely rather than remaining halfway in the waking world and dreaming your daytime thoughts.
Dentists always tell you to brush your teeth two to five times a day and that seems like a lot to most people. However, if we could name the most important time to brush your teeth, it would be at bedtime. This means that your teeth can be absolutely clean for at least a few hours every day. You can still brush when you wake up in the morning and it’s good dental hygiene, but no matter what other dental choices you make, remember to brush your teeth right before bedtime.