One in three Americans aren’t sleeping as well as they should, reports the CDC, and there are many reasons for this. Stress, poor sleep hygiene, and sleep apnea are just a few reasons why people are lacking in sleep quantity and quality, but one thing many people overlook is an equally important factor: oral health. Poor dental and gum health can cause sleepless nights in many ways. That's why it's important to make sure you're taking the right steps to combat the problem. Start with natural toothpaste, mouthwash, and breath fresheners and remember to be vigilant about washing and flossing teeth after meals.
Misplaced Bites And Tooth Grinding
Sleep bruxism - or nighttime tooth grinding - affects around eight percent of adults in America. Occasional grinding may not be harmful per se, but when bruxism is frequent, it may be linked to dental damage, facial pain, and reduced sleep quality. Factors such as smoking, sleep apnea, and stress may play a role in grinding, but so can missing teeth and misplaced bites. Because bruxism can further damage teeth and cause jaw and facial pain, braces to enhance sleep quality and correct misalignments can be recommended. Mouthguards can help temporarily but many find them uncomfortable to use and prefer a permanent solution. For ultimate comfort, invisible braces can be removed to clean teeth yet ensure that faulty bites are corrected and crooked teeth straightened.
Missing Teeth And Facial Pain
When more than one tooth is missing on one side of the face, pain can ensue and this pain can keep you up at night. Essentially, the teeth next to the gap experience “micro-movements” when you bite down, since they have no teeth next to them to keep them in place. These micro-movements can cause oral pain as well as neck pain and headaches. They can also cause existing teeth to weaken until they too are lost. For this reason, implants are recommended to replace missing teeth and ensure the teeth and bone surrounding missing teeth remain in a healthy state.
Gum Disease And Sleep Quality
The National Sleep Foundation states that to enjoy good sleep quality, you must fall asleep within half an hour of getting into bed, wake no more than once, and be awake for no more than 20 minutes after first falling asleep. If you have inflamed gums (gingivitis) or a more serious gum condition known as periodontitis, gums can be painful and bleed at the slightest touch. This stinging, painful sensation can make it hard to feel sleepy or fall asleep quickly. Gum disease is closely related to tooth disease as well, since inflamed gums form pockets around teeth. Bacteria can easily make their way into these pockets, causing cavities to arise.
It is easy to see the important role that good oral health plays in getting a good night’s sleep. Problems with your teeth, gums, and jaw can make it very difficult to fall and stay asleep without frequent waking. This in turn can lead to other issues, including stress and fatigue the following day. To keep your teeth and gums in the best possible state, make sure to brush and floss at least twice a day, and visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleaning.
Looking for a 100% all-natural liquid tooth oil and mouth rinse? Check out OraMD Original Strength and OraMD Extra Strength. Subscribe to our Trusted Health Club newsletter for more information about natural living tips, natural health, oral health and skincare. If you are looking for more health resources check out the Trusted Health Resources list.
Jennifer Trent is a freelance writer and editor. As a former nutrition consultant, her specialist areas include health and nutrition. When not working she loves to read, travel and spend time with her young family.