shocked woman covering her mouth surprised to learn the consequences of not brushing teethWhat’s growing on your teeth while you sleep? Brush before bed to stop plaque!

We’re supposed to brush at least twice a day – but that’s a guideline that sometimes goes unfollowed. If you find yourself skipping brushing, especially at night before bed, it’s time to break the bad habit. We know how tough it can be to get through oral hygiene when you’re exhausted after a long day of work and caring for your family. But if your teeth go unattended, some pretty undesirable effects take hold.

Read on for some information on exactly what happens when you go to bed without brushing – and how to motivate yourself to stay on track. Daily oral hygiene adds up to a lifelong smile.

 Why Brushing Your Teeth is So Important

There’s constantly good and bad bacteria developing in your mouth. Oral hygiene aims to fight back against that bad bacteria and remove it from your mouth. That bacteria, on the other hand, is doing its best to mature and reproduce. This growing process takes about 24 hours, which is when your teeth start feeling fuzzy. Gross as it may be, that fuzziness is a layer of living bacteria.

Those bacteria produce acids, which erode the enamel and lead to decay. They’re especially active when you’re eating. Brushing your teeth twice in a 24-hour period disrupts the bacteria before it can develop into a plaque film, which is stickier and can develop into tartar or calculus. Those last two become hard on your teeth, and need to be removed by a professional. Along the way, your gums become irritated and you may develop gingivitis. This is the first step toward periodontal disease.

Dentists recommend brushing when you wake up and before you go to bed for a few reasons:

  • Form an easy-to-follow habit – It’s easy to pair your brushing with a big daily event like waking up and going to sleep – just make sure you’ve cleaned your teeth before you step out the door or before your head hits the pillow.
  • Cleanse teeth before the night ahead – Bacteria are able to grow uninterrupted while you’re sleeping. Make sure to leave at least half an hour between eating and brushing – immediately after eating, your enamel is softer than usual due to acid production.
  • Freshen breath – Nobody wants to alienate their loved ones or coworkers with morning breath!
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