When we sleep, it’s an essential time for our body to rest, recover, and prepare for the day ahead. Believe it or not, it’s also a crucial moment in the day for your gums and teeth. Most people, through no fault of their own, are actually damaging their teeth while they sleep -- and many won’t know it.
Your dentist will normally be able to spot any night-time issues and give you the proper diagnosis, but knowing what to look for ahead of time could help you spot the problem before it gets any worse.
There will be two main things to look for -- mouth breathing and teeth grinding.
Dry mouth can be experienced at any time of the day, but it’s most dangerous when occurring at night. Throughout the day, we’ll be able to detect dry mouth and solve it by drinking water. When we’re sleeping, dry mouth will only get worse and can lead to tooth decay or gum disease.
Dry mouth is often caused when breathing through your mouth during sleep, also known as mouth breathing. This won’t allow your mouth to produce saliva and will become feeding grounds for bacteria and other viruses.
If you constantly wake up with a dry mouth, you might need to take additional action outside of just downing a glass of water in the morning. By that time, it could be too late.
This is another uncontrollable behavior that we often experience at night, but there are ways to prevent it. Grinding your teeth at night can fracture your teeth and cause soreness in the jaw when you wake up. There’s nothing worse than laying down at night just to wake up and have to schedule a dentist appointment.
Teeth grinding has been linked to stress, anxiety, sleep disorders, as well as alcohol and tobacco users. Some people experience teeth grinding due to crooked, misaligned, or abnormal bites.
Grinding your teeth at night is just as bad during the day as it is at night. Unfortunately, you normally won’t have the peace of mind to stop yourself at night. With that being said, a dentist visit might be in store to go over your options.
If you want to protect your teeth at night the same way you do during the day, you’ll want to talk with your dentist. Since children can also be at risk of teeth grinding and mouth breathing, keeping a close eye on their night-time behaviors is recommended.
In the case of dry mouth, your dentist will likely suggest you drink more water throughout the day and have a glass of water on standby next to your bed at night. If home remedies aren’t working, they’ll either prescribe medication to increase the production of saliva or give you fluoride trays to wear at night.
With teeth grinding, your dentist will suggest wearing a mouthguard at night to protect your teeth. Since teeth grinding is normally the result of something else, they might try to figure out what’s causing it. If it’s stress, you’ll have to make some life changes to further cure it.
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