dental decay

Why You Should Always Brush Your Teeth Before Bed

Most people are aware that the general recommendation is to brush your teeth twice a day, but may not realize the importance of brushing before bed. Understandably, people tend to prioritize brushing their teeth in the morning before they leave the house. It does feel great to start the day with a fresh mouth, but the most critical time you should be brushing your teeth is before bed.

Why is brushing before bed so important?

Think of all the meals, snacks and drinks that you consume in a day. By bedtime, there is going to be a lot of food and bacteria built up on your teeth. Most people still leave behind some bacteria when they brush their teeth, so the more times you brush, the greater the chances of cleaning away the bacteria.

Brushing before bed can help prevent:

Cavities

If you go to bed without brushing, that means your teeth are covered in bacteria. The bacteria will digest the foods that you have been eating all day, and then produce acid as a result of their digestion. The acid is what attacks your enamel and can lead to cavities. During the day, your saliva helps to protect your teeth from the acid. The problem is, while you sleep your body doesn’t make as much saliva and your mouth becomes dry. This will put you at a higher risk of cavities if you go to bed without brushing.

Bad breath

hwy 7 dentist in woodbridge pine seven dental

What is known as “morning breath” is a foul odour produced by the bacteria in our mouths. If you clean your mouth well before bed, you will be less likely to have bad breath in the morning.

Gum disease

If plaque is left sitting on your teeth for a prolonged period, it can harden into a calcified substance called tartar. Once tartar forms, it can only be removed during a professional cleaning. In the presence of plaque and tartar, your gums can become inflamed, swollen, red and bleed easily.

Here is an example of a good oral hygiene routine before bed:

Floss

The bacteria need to be disrupted from between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach.

Brush

For at least two minutes with a fluoridated toothpaste. Make sure to brush your tongue too!

Rinse

Rinsing with an anti-microbial mouthrinse (choose one with the seal of approval from the Canadian Dental Association) will help to kill bacteria and prevent gingivitis.

If you find that you are skipping brushing before bed because you are too tired, try brushing earlier in the evening after you are done eating for the day. Getting into a new routine isn’t always easy, but it is worth it when you have a clean and healthy mouth. Contact us to schedule your next visit today!

The Importance Of Baby Teeth

A common myth is that primary or baby teeth are not important because they will fall out. While it is true that we do lose those teeth eventually, they do serve essential functions. Losing baby teeth early can result in negative consequences.

Facts about baby teeth:

  • They begin to come in around six months of age, with the first tooth usually being a lower front tooth.
  • There are 20 teeth in a full primary dentition, and most children will have their full set by age 3.
  • Children begin to lose their primary teeth around age 6. They will have a mixed dentition (a mix of adult and baby teeth) until they lose their last baby tooth, usually around age 12.

Why are baby teeth so important?

  • They are essential for eating and chewing to ensure proper nutrition for a growing child.
  • Primary teeth are essential for normal facial appearance and proper speech development.
  • Primary teeth hold the space for adult teeth to erupt. If primary teeth are lost early, and a space maintainer is not put in place, this may cause the remaining teeth to shift and block the normal eruption of the adult teeth. This can lead to crowding and misplacement of adult teeth.

The main reason for the early loss of baby teeth is decay. As soon as the first tooth erupts in the mouth, it is susceptible to cavities. With proper oral care, cavities are mostly preventable.

primary teeth vaughan on dentist

Caring for baby teeth:

  • The Canadian Dental Association recommends that children have their first dental checkup within six months of the first tooth erupting or by age one.
  • Before teeth erupt, make a habit of cleaning the child’s gums daily with a clean, wet cloth. As soon as the first tooth erupts start daily brushing. Use an age-appropriate soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Do not put babies to bed with a bottle of milk and do not let milk pool in a sleeping child’s mouth. Milk (including breast milk) contains sugars that can lead to cavities.
  • Brushing will need to be monitored and assisted by parents until the child has the dexterity to brush correctly on their own. This is usually when they can write their name (in cursive writing, not printing).
  • For children less than three years old, swallowing toothpaste may be an issue. A dental professional can assess the child’s risk of decay, and they may recommend the use of a small amount (no larger than a grain of rice) of fluoridated toothpaste to help prevent cavities.
  • For children aged three to six, use a pea-size amount of fluoridated toothpaste when brushing and encourage them to spit out the toothpaste.
  • Floss your child’s teeth daily, especially between the back molars where decay is more likely to start.
  • Limit sugary drinks and foods. Some tooth-friendly snacks are raw fruit and veggies, cheese, nuts, and seeds.

baby milk bottle vaughan on dentist

Signs of decay in baby teeth:

  • White spots or lines forming on the teeth could be an early sign of decay.
  • Dark areas or visible holes.
  • Child complaining of pain in their mouth.

Untreated decay leads to severe pain and infection. If you suspect your child might have a cavity, see your dental professional immediately. Taking good care of their primary set of teeth will help to keep your child healthy and developing properly.

Book your appointment now, because it starts with a smile!
Call us today at (905) 856-2535