The systems that govern our body are both complex and interlaced, meaning that every aspect of our health affects every other aspect to one degree or another. Even activities that have a positive effect on our health can have negative consequences, such as stress fractures from over-exercising. Unsurprisingly, negative health affecting behaviors, such as a poor diet or poor oral hygiene habits, can have even deeper impacts. Not getting enough sleep is one behavior that is known to have many serious side effects, with recent studies showing that our oral health is at risk from it as well.
How Your Oral Health Is Impacted By A Lack Of Sleep
When we sleep at night, our body spends this time rejuvenating every aspect of our body. From healing systems that are under less strain while sleeping to refreshing our minds through rapid eye movement and rest, our resting body is hard at work. Without this much-needed respite from a long day’s activity, we aren’t able to get the rest and repair our body needs to keep us working at our best. Some of the oral health consequences of not getting enough sleep include:
- Periodontitis – Those who get less sleep have been shown to be more prone to developing periodontitis. In one study the results showed that those getting sufficient sleep (7-8 hours) were less prone to getting periodontal disease.
- Increased Inflammation – The underlying reason for higher rates of periodontal disease was an increased level of inflammation in these patients. In addition to causing problems with your gums, inflammation can affect every area of your oral health.
- Sleep Apnea/Dry Mouth – Those with sleep apnea often demonstrate higher levels of dry mouth as a result of breathing through their mouths while sleeping. This impacts the ability of saliva to battle bacteria and control the pH levels of our mouths, leading to tooth decay.
- Bruxism – A condition identifiable by night-time teeth grinding, bruxism often accompanies poor sleep being caused by stress. Patients with this condition may wake themselves up by grinding their teeth or may experience painful jaws when waking.
These are just some of the ways that not getting enough sleep can negatively impact your oral health. It’s important to never underestimate the importance that getting a good night’s sleep has on our overall health.
What You Can Do To Get Better Sleep
We could start this section off by telling you to get more sleep, but we know that’d likely just be wasted text. If you could get enough sleep every night while maintaining your lifestyle, it’s almost certain that you already would be. If getting more sleep isn’t an option, all you can do is be sure to make the most of the sleep you do get.
- No Electronics 30 Minutes Before Bed – Want to help sleep more peacefully? Shut off your electronics a half hour before you go to sleep. Spend that time brushing your teeth, washing your face, having a cup of herbal tea, or just reading. The blue light from our electronics keeps our brains active, so give them some time to shut down.
- Treat Health Conditions – If you suffer from bruxism or sleep apnea, and it’s impacting your ability to rest peacefully, get treatment. Mouthguards for bruxism and CPAP machines for sleep apnea can help you get a good night’s sleep.
- Prepare For The Day Ahead – One thing you can after you shut down your electronics is set your mind at ease. Write down all the things you have to do the next day so you know what’s coming. This has been found to ease anxiety in many patients and let them go peacefully to sleep.
Want more tips for good oral health and getting enough sleep? Speak to your dental practitioner and other health professionals. They’ll have tips, tricks, and guidance on what you can do to improve your sleep, your oral health, and every aspect of your life. Schedule an appointment with your dentist today!