Even if you’re very strict when it comes to sticking to your habits, you’ve probably skipped brushing your teeth before bedtime at least a few times. But should you brush your teeth before bedtime and even worse…feel guilty when you don’t?
Most of us brush our teeth to prevent cavities, freshen up our breath and ensure our teeth look as clean as possible. As much as I love sticking to my personal hygiene habits, even I have omitted to brush my teeth before going to sleep simply because I was just too tired (it doesn’t happen often though).
Everyone knows good oral hygiene implies you brush your teeth twice a day: once in the morning and once in the evening. But where do these rules come from, and should we stick to them?
I’m sure the truth will shock you. The American Dental Association says that all it matters is you brush your teeth twice a day and it’s actually not necessary to do it right before bedtime.
It turns out, the plaque is constantly building up in our mouths and it takes one day to mature. It sounds gross and scary, but yes……there are tiny living creatures in your mouth and you need to evict them twice a day unless you plan on keeping a zoo in there.
The bacteria that produces plaque also produces acid constantly throughout the day, with the occasional spikes when we’re eating. This is why we need to brush at least two times a day – less than that would allow the acid to eat into the enamel and eventually lead to cavities.
So if it doesn’t matter when you brush your teeth why are we always told to brush in the morning and in the evening? It seems this recommendation is made simply to help us make teeth brushing a habit. Also, you’re doing your bedmate a favor by preventing that early morning dragon breath.
In fact, the best time to brush your teeth would be somewhere between dinner and bedtime, not right before hitting the sack. This way, the fluoride in your toothpaste has enough time to create a barrier against acid before you doze off. Also, it’s not recommended you brush your teeth right after a meal since that’s when your enamel is at it’s weakest state.
On top of that, make sure you don’t snack after you brush your teeth in the evening – this will cause bacteria to develop much faster, as it feeds off of any carbs.
However, don’t panic if you forget to brush in the evening on occasions as long as you don’t make it a habit. Plaque takes a long time to calcify and you simply need to brush a bit more next morning to solve the problem.
Since you’re so considerate regarding your oral health that you’ve read so far, here’s one more important thing you need to know. The more often you snack, the more often bacteria living in your mouth will start producing acid which over time, will affect your enamel. Even sipping that second cup of coffee can have the same effect. So keep that in mind if you tend to snack frequently. For oral health, that’s certainly not a good thing, and in some cases, not even for your waist.
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