It happens to many of us. You awake in the middle of the night, hungry, and in search of a snack. You may head to your kitchen, rifle through the fridge for that leftover Chinese or pour yourself a bowl of cereal. Once you’ve satisfied your snack cravings, you head back to bed and once again drift off to sleep. The next day, you’re likely faced with funky breath and a funky feeling in your mouth. This yucky situation is an indication that you forget to do something between your midnight kitchen run and heading back to bed. You forgot to brush your teeth. Dr. Caracioni explains in this blog how the midnight snack isn’t just bad for your waistline but is also bad for your teeth.
The sour, sticky feeling in your mouth in the morning is a direct result of the food left behind in your teeth. During the day, the leftover particles of the food we eat are broken down by the saliva. However, during sleep, saliva production decreases. As food debris lingers between the teeth, foul smelling and bad tasting gasses are emitted, causing bad breath and the mouth to taste sour.
The morning after a midnight snack mouth feels sticky because of dental plaque – a sticky film that develops over teeth in between brushing and flossing. Dental plaque is the host to millions of bacteria and is the causes of gum disease, and tooth decay. These millions of bacteria love midnight snacks just like you do. They especially love snacks that have a lot of sugar. Many foods (yes, even vegetables) are high in sugar, so even reaching for healthy snacks late at night can cause issues in your mouth if you don’t take the time to brush and floss before heading back to bed.
It’s not just midnight snacking that can cause dental maladies. Any time you eat and skip brushing and flossing you are putting yourself at risk for tooth decay and gum health issues. By practicing proper oral hygiene every day, you can help to eliminate dental plaque buildup and reduce your risk of gingivitis and tooth decay.
If you just can’t skip late night snacking, be sure to take the time to brush (and floss!) before you go back to counting sheep.
Do you have questions about best dental hygiene practices? Call Dr. Caracioni today at 785.783.0741.