How does sleep affect oral health?

Sleep seems to be the antidote for virtually everything. It certainly plays a major part in the maintenance of a healthy body.

Sleep increases memory, enhances metabolic rates, and boosts our daily performance. And a good night’s sleep also has a vital role in good oral health: it can ward off the progression of periodontal disease and reduce bad breath and mouth ulcers.

A recent study, led by Muneo Tanaka, DDS, and colleagues at Osaka University Graduate School of Dentistry, examined the connection between gum disease and certain lifestyle variables. These factors included physical exercise, hours of sleep, hours of work, alcohol use, tobacco use, eating breakfast and mental stress.

The dentists examined 219 factory workers for a span of four years. Their results found that sleep was the second-highest factor influencing periodontal disease after smoking. Workers who had seven to eight hours of sleep per night indicated less periodontal progression than those who had six or fewer hours of sleep each night.

“This study points out to patients that there are lifestyle factors other than brushing and flossing that may affect their oral health,” said Preston D. Miller Jr., DDS, President of the American Academy of Periodontology.

“It is also important to keep these in mind as the body of evidence linking oral disease with systemic diseases continues to grow, because ultimately these factors might impact a patient’s overall health.”

When you sleep, your body devotes time to self-maintenance. This helps to heal and repair your heart vessels, supports healthy growth, keeps your blood sugar levels stable and bolsters your immune system. All of these factors are interconnected and each plays a part in promoting a healthy mouth.

Even though scientists are still examining the exact correlation between heart and mouth problems, it is understood that bacteria build-up on the gums and teeth enters the bloodstream. From there it can lead to blood clots and inflammatory responses.

Diabetes and gum disease have also been tied together through high blood sugar levels, or high blood glucose. This weakens your gums, making infection and germs in the mouth more likely.

In addition, feeling-well rested after a good night’s sleep reduces stress. This leads to a reduction in bad breath and fewer mouth ulcers because there is less bacteria in the mouth. When we feel stressed out or overwhelmed, our immune system has more difficulty fighting these bacteria off.

So it’s not only brushing and flossing habits before bedtime that affect your oral health. Your time in bed asleep can affect your teeth and gums as well.

Ensure that you and your family maintain regular sleeping habits, which will not only lead to a happier and more productive day, but improve your oral health as well.

Call us here at Dental Care Partnership on 0121 354 1922 to book an appointment with one of our friendly team.