You probably brush your teeth when you wake up in the morning, however, do you do the same at night time?

It is easier to skip all of the oral hygiene practices at night when we are tired and want to sleep.

But it is at night when bacteria and plaque from the entire day accumulate in your mouth.

If you go to sleep without cleaning your mouth, they will harm your teeth and gums overnight.

Think about it, they have plenty of time. What will 8 hours of exposure to bacteria and plaque do to your teeth?

Hence, a night time oral health routine is as important as your daytime routine.

You should not skip any of these.

In this article, we discuss the oral health routine to follow during the night. Keep reading to know what you should start from today!

night time brushing

Night Time Brushing Teeth

It is absolutely necessary to brush your teeth at night just like you do them in the morning.

You may not have a bad breath while you are going to sleep like the morning breath but that is not the sole reason to brush.

In fact, brushing teeth keeps bacteria and plaque at bay.

After eating and drinking throughout the day, bacteria, plaque and food debris can accumulate inside your mouth.

When they stay longer onto your teeth and tongue they can cause oral health problems such as:

You should rinse your mouth after eating something so that the food debris and plaque do not linger in the mouth for a long time.

However, if you are especially susceptible to cavities and gum disease then brush after meals.

For your nightly routine, brush after dinner and then brush your teeth again once you are about to sleep.

child brushing teeth

It is not only important to brush but to correctly brush your teeth.

Brushing gently in circular strokes in a back and forth motion will get out most of the plaque.

Clean both the outer and inner surfaces.

Then move to the chewing surfaces at the back of your mouth not forgetting the crevices, ridges and grooves of teeth.

Cleaning the back of the front teeth will be difficult.

However, you can still manage it by stroking the tip of the brush up and down.

Use a soft bristles manual or electric toothbrush.

Be gentle while brushing because if you are harsh you may damage your enamel which will make you more susceptible to cavities.

So not only brushing but brushing correctly is key.

woman flossing

After Brushing, Floss!

It is important to brush twice a day in the morning and at night but it is also good to floss twice.

Flossing is usually recommended at night.

At this time you have the bacteria, food particles and plaque accumulating from all day inside your teeth.

Flossing can remove plaque and food particles stuck in your interdental spaces which a toothbrush cannot.

The debris and plaque are still soft at night but they may harden by the morning.

Hence, flossing teeth at night prevents the plaque from hardening into tartar.

Moreover, it does not allow the bacteria to accumulate and feed on the food particles remaining in the interdental spaces.

If the bacteria start feeding on the food particles then they will release acids.

These acids will wear down the tooth enamel as a result allowing the penetration of bacteria into the deeper layer of teeth forming cavities.

Moreover, if the plaque hardens to tartar then it can cause gingivitis.

Only a dentist can remove the tartar through a teeth cleaning.

Flossing at night is absolutely necessary.

However, if you want your teeth to be cleaner then you can also floss at day time.

This also goes for people who are more at risk of accumulating tartar and getting gum disease.

cleaning tongue

Using a Tongue Scraper at Night Time

Just like brushing teeth, you should scrape your tongue using a tongue cleaner twice a day.

Bacteria can accumulate on your tongue producing volatile sulfur compounds that release bad breath.

This is why you have a morning breath as soon as you wake up.

Hence, tongue scraping at night is important so that the bacteria do not accumulate overnight and as you wake up so that you start the day with a fresh breath.

Usually, you will clean your tongue after brushing and flossing.

Use a tongue scraper or a tongue brush.

If you do not have both then you can simply use a toothbrush however, that underperforms.

Stick out your tongue and start scraping from the back bringing it to the tip.

Do not go the other way round, always begin from the back.

If you are new to this, you can begin from the middle.

This will ensure that you do not have a strong gagging reflex to the scraper.

Then slowly make your way to the back when you are used to the sensation.

You will have to repeat it once or twice to remove all the debris accumulating on the tongue.

Remember to be gentle while you are cleaning as otherwise, a scraper can cut your tongue if you use it harshly.

Cleaning your tongue is important to prevent halitosis.

Hence, clean it right after you finish flossing.

Though if you have a severe problem of chronic bad breath due to medications or dry mouth then clean your tongue after having every meal.

mouth rinsing at night time

Using a Mouthwash

A mouthwash can freshen your breath but it can also protect your teeth from oral health problems.

A fluoride mouthwash can strengthen your teeth and provide enamel protection.

These therapeutic mouthwashes can promote oral health.

They can kill bacteria preventing halitosis, plaque buildup and as a result gingivitis, gum disease or cavities.

While choosing a mouthwash you should see if it only masks bad breath or also has anti-bacterial properties that protect your teeth and gums.

Hence, if you want to fight off oral health problems using a mouthwash then consult your dentist about the best mouthwash that can keep your teeth and gums clean.

Otherwise, most commercial mouthwashes only help to reduce bad bacteria.

You use to rinse your mouth for 2 to 3 minutes by swishing the mouthwash around.

Let it reach your tongue and all of your teeth.

While mouthwash is not the best for providing complete protection as it is only in contact with teeth for a very less time, it can still protect your oral health from more problems.

Include it once a day in your night routine as the last thing when you have spent the day eating and drinking.

woman wearing mouth guard

Night Time Prevention for Bruxism

If you are noticing worn-out enamel, teeth and pain in your jaw as well as headache then there are chances you are grinding and clenching teeth in sleep.

The signs to notice are:

  • wearing of the tooth enamel giving the edges a translucent look
  • tearing of the cheek tissue
  • tooth sensitivity

Go to your dentist for a confirmation of teeth grinding.

Since it had detrimental effects on your oral health, you should plan a night routine to prevent yourself from grinding your teeth.

One of the reasons behind grinding teeth is stress.

Try to relax your mind before you are planning to sleep.

Meditation, mindfulness and exercise help to calm you down and reduce stress.

Hence, do any of these just as you are about to go to bed.

Any dentist cannot stop you from teeth grinding unless you sort out the root cause.

However, they can help in reducing the damage.

This happens by making a mouthguard.

The mouth guard or night guard that you wear before sleep will protect your teeth from the damage clenching can cause.

You may still keep grinding your teeth however, wearing the mouth guard will shield the enamel and tooth surfaces.

Therefore, if you suffer from bruxism it is important to wrap up your nighttime routine by wearing a mouthguard.

oral care at night time

Taking Care of Your Oral Health All the Time

You should not be limiting your oral health care to daytime or night.

In fact, if you are more susceptible to decay then you will have to frequently floss and brush.

Also, you can add other oral care equipment such as an interdental brush or a water flosser to your routine for extra protection.

Even if you do not have any existing oral health problems, taking preventive measures can keep your mouth healthy.

Thus, visit a dentist regularly bi-annually to keep a check on your dental health.

You can also get routine cleanings and sort out other health problems while you are visiting them.

Moreover, do not forget to abide by your day time and night time routine.

It hardly takes 10 to 15 minutes to finish your routine and t can prevent you from oral health problems that can last for months and costs a lot.

Hence, spare a few minutes of your day right before you are sleeping.

A habit takes only 40 days to build up.

Commit 15 minutes before bed to your night time routine and see a drastic difference in your oral health.