For the general population, life has never been more hectic. We have less time for rest, higher stress levels, and sleepinterrupters such as caffeine, and blue light. This is leading to more and more people, getting less and less sleep.
In fact, insomnia has become so common that many people are familiar with the negative effects it has on your health. This can include poor cognitive function, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, depleted sex drive, anxiety and more. In recent years though, lack of sleep has been linked to some serious dental problems as well. That’s why this article is focused on how sleep deprivation affects teeth.
LACK OF SLEEP LEADS TO PERIODONTITIS
Substantial research has shown that the amount of sleep you get is directly related to the onset of periodontitis (also known as gum disease). The Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine helped prove that getting less than seven hours of sleep each night significantly increased the risks of periodontitis.
Inflamed and infected gums are usually the first signs of periodontitis. Eventually the bones that support the area weaken, leading to tooth loss.
DECREASED SLEEP LEADS TO INCREASED INFLAMMATION
Insomnia can cause inflammation to increase throughout the body, including in your gums. This can lead to sensitive, bleeding gums, gingivitis and eventually periodontitis. Inflammation in the mouth can also lead to conditions such as canker sores and oral thrush.
SLEEP PROTECTS YOUR IMMUNE FUNCTION
When you don’t get enough sleep, your immunity is lowered, continuing to increase your risk of oral problems and infections.
POOR SLEEP FROM SNORING
With sleep apnea a person can sleep all night, but still not feel rested. This puts them at risk for the above conditions, as well as increased cavities from a dry mouth. Mouth guards have proven to be an effective treatment for many sleep apnea patients.
SLEEP IS NEEDED TO MAINTAIN GOOD HABITS
If you don’t get a good night’s sleep, you’re more likely to skip dental care when you get up. This is because it’s an easy priority to skip if you slept in or moved too slowly in the morning.
You’re also more likely to skip proper care again before bed, because you’re too tired. Either way, if you’re unable to fit your normal dental routine in, try to (at minimum) rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash. This will help to reduce some of the previously discussed risks.
TRY THESE PROVEN TIPS FOR A BETTER NIGHT’S SLEEP
- Build a sleep routine that fits your schedule. To find how much sleep you need, start by going to bed a little earlier each night, until it feels right.
- Create a healthy wake up routine as well, that includes waking at the same time every day.
- Try to avoid caffeinated and sweetened beverages after 5pm, and limit all food after 7pm. If you feel you need something before bed opt for chamomile or herbal tea and something high in fiber, low in sugar like pumpernickel toast.
- Make sleep a priority. Your long to-do list can wait; besides you’re likely to be more productive when you’re well rested.
- Speak to your dentist about dental issues that can affect your sleep such as clenching, grinding and sleep We have remedies and appliances that can help.