Have you ever had one of those days? Everything that could go wrong does go wrong, your stress levels reach new heights, and the day never seems to end. But it does end, and by that point you just want to flop into your bed and sleep forever. Brushing and flossing your teeth are probably the last things on your mind, but here’s what happens if you don’t brush before bed.
- Plaque is the name of the oral bacteria which collect on teeth. These bacteria produce harmful acids when they process sugars from the foods you eat. Plaque cannot be washed off of teeth with water; it can only be removed by brushing and flossing. When you don’t clean away food and plaque through brushing and flossing, the plaque bacteria can produce acids that erode tooth enamel all night long.
- Plaque creates a further danger if it lies undisturbed for a long time. The plaque crystallizes and hardens, creating tartar (also known as calculus). Tartar not only traps plaque bacteria against teeth, but it cannot be brushed off with a toothbrush. Only scaling performed by a dentist or dental hygienist can get rid of tartar.
- Saliva acts as a primary defense against tooth decay by rebuilding tooth enamel, washing away food debris, and neutralizing acids. But when you sleep, the flow of saliva reduces significantly. Your mouth is more vulnerable to tooth decay while you sleep, so skipping brushing basically gives plaque all the ammunition it needs.
Of course, skipping brushing before bed just once will not give you a mouthful of rotten teeth overnight. However, it can start the process of cavity formation, especially if you continue to skip brushing before bed.