Why Lack of Sleep Is Dangerous to Your Dental Health

Modern life is hectic. Between work, family, friends and ever present social media, it can seem like there is no down time to relax and get a good night’s sleep every night. Many of us actually wear our lack of sleep as a badge of honor proving how successful and popular we are. This lack of sleep however is actually very dangerous to our dental health.

Lack of Sleep Linked to Periodontitis

Studies have shown that the amount of sleep you get every night is directly connected to the onset of periodontitis, which basically is the development of deep pockets between your gums and your teeth. These pockets cause your teeth to loosen and move around and also destroys the bone that holds your teeth in place.

One study, in particular, by the Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, investigated how certain lifestyle factors (sleep, diet, exercise, stress levels) may be risk factors for periodontitis in 200 workers. They found that the workers got seven to eight hours of sleep every night they had less of risk for periodontitis.

Less Sleep, Higher Levels of Inflammation

The main reason that lack of sleep can lead to periodontitis is because of the increased levels of inflammation in your gums. According to researchers at the Emory University School of Medicine, the body produces more inflammatory hormones when it is running on empty and this inflammation can lead first to gingivitis and then to periodontitis.

High levels of inflammation can also increase your risk for stroke, heart disease, obesity and even Alzheimer’s disease. Lack of sleep also can impair your ability to make good decisions. So all aspects of your health can really be impacted by lack of sleep. Higher levels of inflammation in your body can really wreak havoc on your body so it is time to make sleep a priority again. You deserve it right?

A Good Night’s Sleep Is Easier than You Think

It is important to realize that it not necessarily how many hours of sleep you get that matters. It is more about the quality of sleep. For the best protection of your teeth and gums, you need seven to eight hours of solid sleep. If you keep getting up in the middle of the night and do a lot of tossing and turning, you won’t get the same benefits.

Here are some tips for getting a better night’s sleep:

  • Make sleep a priority. This is the most important thing to do. Otherwise your long list of things to do will always get in the way. You need to be kinder to yourself and let certain things go. The house doesn’t have to be sparking clean before you go to bed. It is more important that you are well rested and healthy.
  • Set a sleep routine that is doable with your schedule. If you set unrealistic expectations you will never meet them. Start by going to bed a little earlier each night until you found the right amount of sleep that leaves you rested and not stressed by your overflowing to-do lists. Once you follow your new routine for a while, your body will start to know when it is time to relax and get some ZZZ’s.
  • If you think you suffer from sleep apnea, don’t wait any longer to undergo a sleep study to see if you need to sleep with a CPAP machine.
  • Some dental issues like clenching and grinding your teeth can affect your sleep. If you suspect you do this, talk to your dentist about appliances that you can wear in order to get a better night’s stress.
  • It is not just the time you go to sleep that matters. When you wake up is also important. Make sure you are consistently going to bed and waking up at the same time. Otherwise you are messing with your body’s natural circadian rhythms.
  • Try not to eat anything after 7 p.m. and avoid all caffeinated and sweetened beverage before bed as well.
  • If you need a little soothing before bed, try some chamomile or any herb tea. It will help your body relax and prepare for bedtime.
  • Create a sanctuary in your bedroom where you can leave out all your troubles. Make sure your room is clean and uncluttered and that your bed is comfortable. Keeping your bedroom dark, cool and quiet will also help you snuggle under your blankets and sink into sleepy time land a lot sooner.
  • If your mind tends to race a lot at night with all the things you have to do the next day, start leaving a notepad and pen on the end table by the bed so you can write down a list for tomorrow and get back to sleep.

Besides trying to get more sleep, there are a lot of other ways you can improve your dental health. The simplest is to follow proper oral hygiene by brushing and flossing your teeth properly.

If you have been having bleeding gums, loose teeth or any tooth pain or discomfort, then it is important to see your dentist for a good cleaning and evaluation. He or she can let you know what is going on your mouth and how best to combat any problems. There are many treatment options available from fillings to implants. If you have a small mouth and your teeth are really crowded inside, you may want to consider braces. Your dentist will help you pick the right treatment based on your particular needs.

If you have any cavities or the start of gingivitis or periodontitis now is the time to get it corrected so you don’t have worse problems down the road. And make sure you don’t miss out on any of your six month checkups. It is always better to be proactive instead of reactive.The expert team at Orthodontics Limited can help you improve your health and improve your smile.

Call today for a free consultation and get yourself back on track to a healthier you. Click here for more information.