4 Ways Sleep Affects Your Oral Health!

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Sleep is one of the most important function of the body... It even plays a part in our oral health. Who knew?! While we sleep, our bodies are repairing cells, our brains are storing information from the day, and our vital functions (like circulation, respiration, and digestion) are slowing down, giving our immune systems a break to replenish. Sleep can be a restorative time for oral health, or a time for cavities and tooth fractures to occur. Below I'll explain 4 ways that sleep can affect your oral health, for better or for worse!

1. Fights Infections

Sleep gives our immune system a chance to recharge, which is helpful to our oral health. Apart from recharging, your immune system is also learning how to fight specific infections that are plaguing you, and it's sending antigen specific cells to fight those infections. Since the mouth is filled with bacteria at any given time, it's important for your immune system to know how to fight off any potential infections that could develop there. Sleep is key in keeping your immune system rested and strong so that it can protect your mouth and the rest of your body.

2. Fortifies the Teeth

While we are sleeping, our body is working hard to repair cell structures and replenish nutrients. The body will replenish the bone tissue of the teeth with nutrients like calcium and phosphate during sleep. These nutrients will help fortify your teeth, keeping them strong and healthy.

3. Can Enable the Development of Cavities

Unfortunately, sometimes sleeping can leave the mouth vulnerable to developing cavities. As the body takes time to rest, harmful bacteria can take advantage of your mouth. If you sleep with your mouth open or snore, you have a higher chance of having harmful bacteria populate your mouth. Saliva is an important defense when it comes to cleaning our mouths of harmful bacteria. When our mouths are open as we sleep, the saliva dries up. Bacteria can begin digesting sugars, making the mouth more acidic, and cavities can develop. Although you can't easily control snoring or an open mouth during sleep, you can do something proactive: Make sure to brush and floss thoroughly before bed.

4. Can Cause Damage to Teeth

Some people grind their teeth when they sleep, which is technically called Bruxism. This unconscious compulsion is often caused by stress, and can cause your teeth to crack and break. If you grind your teeth, you may not be able to will your unconscious sleeping self to stop grinding, but you can get fitted for a custom night guard to help protect your teeth and prevent the fracturing of your teeth.

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