What Happens to Your Teeth When You Sleep 

During the day, you have ample opportunities to improve your oral health by brushing, flossing, choosing healthy foods and going to your dentist in Cary, NC. But when you go to bed, you don’t have much control over what happens in your mouth. 

What you learn might surprise you a bit. If nothing else, it will definitely convince you to brush your teeth immediately before bedtime. 

What Happens to Your Teeth When You Sleep 


Nocturnal Bacterial Activity 

When you sleep, your teeth become hosts to a bustling community of bacteria, numbering between 1,000 and 100,000 per tooth. Without the evening brush, these microscopic residents feast on food remnants between your teeth and beneath the gum line. Although eradicating all oral bacteria is impossible, a consistent bedtime brushing routine can limit their food supply, preventing potential damage to tooth enamel. 

The Nighttime Saliva Slowdown 

The flow of saliva, a vital defense against bacterial proliferation, slows down when you’re sleeping. Reduced saliva flow creates an environment conducive to bacterial growth, potentially leading to morning breath. Regular oral care, including brushing before bedtime and upon waking, helps manage bacteria levels, maintaining a balance for optimal oral health. 

Silent Nighttime Struggle: Teeth Grinding 

Deep into the night, many people engage in an involuntary nocturnal activity — teeth grinding, known as bruxism. This grinding can alter tooth shapes, wear off enamel, and contribute to increased tooth sensitivity. Left unaddressed, bruxism may result in sleep disruptions, headaches, and sore muscles in the jaw, neck, and face. Mouth guards act as a protective shield against the consequences of bruxism, offering a practical solution to safeguard your teeth during the night. 

Don’t Forget to Visit Your Dentist in Cary, NC 

While you can’t control what you do while you sleep, you can still take action. Schedule your appointment now for personalized strategies to safeguard your smile. Explore preventive options and ensure your oral health is in top shape.