At night, when you are thinking of going to sleep, you make sure that the doors are locked, and the house is secure. For most of us, that has become a routine, because protecting our health and safety is a constant concern. Likewise, proper oral care at bedtime is essential to keeping your teeth strong, your gums healthy, and your smile bright.
What happens inside your mouth when you sleep
During the daytime, between meals, you are swallowing and drinking water, reducing the oral bacteria. But at night, oral bacteria will proliferate as long as there is any fuel (food) available to them.
Three-step for night time oral protection
To ensure that your mouth can fight bacteria at night and therefore avoid erosion and tooth decay, you should follow three simple oral hygiene steps every night before you sleep. These steps are BFR (Brush, Floss, Rinse).
It is essential to brush your teeth before bedtime. It is also best to brush after every meal, as bacterial activity starts immediately on food particles in your mouth. However, if you brush only twice a day, one of those should be just before flossing at bedtime.
When we are asleep, the long period of no swallowing and low saliva production gives the bacteria a lot of opportunities to proliferate and do damage.
How to brush properly at night
Use a soft-bristled brush that is the right size to allow you to reach all the back teeth. For the inner and outer surfaces, direct the bristles between your teeth and gums at a 45-degree angle. Use gentle, circular movements, from the gum toward the edge of the teeth. To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes. Also, brush the biting surfaces of the molars with a back and forth motion. Finally, brush your tongue and palate.
You should brush at a careful, unhurried pace for at least 2 minutes, using a fluoride toothpaste. Replace your toothbrush at least every three months. Many brushes have bristles that change or lose their colour when it’s time to replace them.
The American Dental Association recommends that everyone floss at least once a day. Those who are at higher risk for cavities and gum disease would be wise to floss more often. Below is the recommended method for flossing.
Proper flossing technique
Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. The Wind some of the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty. Leave enough unwound between to insert between teeth and hold it tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums. Gently slide the floss into the space between the gum and one tooth, while curving it into a C shape against the tooth. Holding tightly, gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions.
As you unwind the floss to grasp an unused portion, repeat this method for the rest of your teeth. Don’t forget the back side of your last tooth.
Flossing for children
Parents should floss the teeth of young children, as this is especially hard for them before the age of 10 or 11. Those of any age who can’t manage this method of flossing can try a pre-threaded flosser or a dental pick.
The important thing is to clean between the teeth and below the gumline. Because plaque that is not removed by brushing and flossing will eventually harden into calculus or tartar that causes disease and can only be removed by professional cleaning.
Not everyone needs to use an antiseptic mouthwash. If you do, the best time to use it is before bedtime for the extra protection during the long hours of sleep.
What if you don’t want to use mouthwash?
If you do not use mouthwash, be sure that you swish plenty of water in your mouth after brushing and flossing to remove the loose particles. Another helpful practice is to keep a glass of water by your bedside. If you wake up in the middle of the night, sip, swish and swallow water to rinse away excess bacteria and stimulate saliva production.
Following the “BFR” routine described above before bedtime will help maintain your oral health. Also be sure to get regular check-ups and cleanings at 7 Day Dental.
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