Falling Asleep Without Brushing your Teeth: How Bad Is It?

Many of us have experienced those nights when we are watching TV, or perhaps reading a book, and finding ourselves warm and comfy, we begin to drift off. We know that we should get up, prepare ourselves for sleep, and head off to bed, but it is often simply too tempting to simply close our eyes and slip into dreamland.

Is it bad to fall asleep without brushing your teeth?

Not brushing our teeth before bed is not ideal and no one likes waking up with the ensuing morning breath, but it can’t be that bad, can it? When it comes to falling asleep without brushing our teeth, how bad is it?

Turns out, it’s pretty bad.

Brushing twice a day is important for more than just fresh breath. When you skip brushing your teeth, you are providing an opportunity for bacterial buildup, which takes the form of plaque. Plaque, in turn, will eventually harden into tartar. Plaque and tartar can cause irritation and inflammation, bleeding gums, and tooth decay. As gum disease sets in, you may also lose the supporting gum and bone which hold your teeth in place, resulting in tooth loss.

brushing teeth before bed

Plaque is constantly building up on our teeth due to bacteria, taking about 24 hours to mature. Brushing in the morning and then forgetting or choosing not to brush again at night, provides those 24 hours. Waking in the morning with a mouth that feels “fuzzy” is unpleasant because you now have something living there on your teeth!

The bacteria on your teeth produces acid throughout the day and particularly when you are eating. By-products from this acid can eat into your tooth enamel. Brushing twice a day defends your teeth against this constant assault, but knowing when to brush will prove even more helpful.

Most often, it is suggested to brush in the morning and then again before bed. Part of the reason is to help develop the brushing habit through daily repetition at a regular time. Brushing your teeth between dinner and bedtime can prove even more beneficial, however. Doing so gives the fluoride in your toothpaste more time to strengthen your teeth and build a protective barrier before you sleep, when your teeth become more vulnerable due to the lack of antibacterial saliva.

brushing teeth before sleeping

This doesn’t mean you should brush immediately after eating; during your dinner, your teeth are exposed to acids in your food and beverages which soften the surface layer of enamel. Wait at least 30 minutes before brushing and avoid snacking. If you wish to remove some of that acid and sugar from your meal, rinse your mouth with some water.

Although you definitely want to avoid going to bed without brushing, you needn’t worry too much if you forget once in a while. Enough brushing can remove day-old plaque. Simply increase your regular two minutes to four.

While many people will sometimes fall asleep without brushing, whether from sheer exhaustion or some other factor, you should try not to let it become a habit and you need to be aware of the impact even just one night may have on your teeth. Morning breath is the least of your problems and no gum, mint, or mouthwash can replace proper brushing.

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Here at Kherani Dental at Aspen we have been helping our young patients to achieve happier, healthier smiles for years.

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