Dental Health Info Article

Find Out How Sleep Can Impact Dental Health on

Sleeping is a delicious state of being where anything is possible (courtesy of dreaming) and the body is fully relaxed. During that period of time, the human metabolism slows down, the immune system is rejuvenation and the nervous, skeletal and muscular systems have time to grow and repair. Without sleep, humans can barely function and a deep sleep can cause some dental health issues to develop.

Experts suggest that depending on the adult, five to ten hours is the required amount of time for catching some Zs. During that time, individuals will go through a variety of sleep stages and be blissfully unaware of their daytime reality. However, a trip to a dentist may alert them to the realities that their night time activities are negatively impacting their dental health and causing conditions such as unnecessary dental wear and tear as well as an uptick in dental cavities.


Grinding and clenching teeth is a common subconscious reaction to stress, however sometimes the behavior occurs for no reason. Regardless of why it happens, the condition is called bruxism and if left unchecked, some serious oral cavity damage can occur amidst slumber. Bruxism can cause a variety of dental problems including jaw disorders, headaches and damaged teeth and sleep bruxism is the most common tooth clenching disorder.

If left unchecked, smiles can be destroyed, chronic facial pain can become the norm and tooth sensitivity will rise. The condition can also trigger off the larger problem of Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome or TMJ. TMJ is a complex disorder affecting jaw joints, facial muscles and facial nerves and surrounding tissues. TMJ sufferers can additionally experience a popping and clicking in the jaw. On rare occasions jaws lock into an awkward position that can only be treated with emergency dental care.

While an individual may suspect they are suffering from one or both conditions courtesy of the physical side effects of tooth sensitivity, tooth pain, chipped teeth, headaches or earaches, a professional dentist can accurately diagnose the condition and provide help. The most frequent tool created by general dentists to minimize the damage caused by tooth clenching is a customized mouth guard (AKA night guard). Individuals who get the specialized device and sleep with it each and every night will keep the negative impact of their nighttime activities at bay.

Sleep Eating

During slumber, some sleepers will experience increased dental issues such as gum disease because of their unusual habit of sleep eating. The sleep-related eating disorder called NS-RED is an unfortunate side effect of some prescription drug sleeping aids. The condition causes sufferers to conduct activities that are usually reserved for being fully alert. In the case of NS-RED sufferers they can eat full meals and have absolutely no memory of the experience.

A study conducted by the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Copenhagen University found that individuals classified as "nocturnal eaters" (regardless of the cause for their habit) had greater odds of developing dental problems including gum disease, cavities and tooth loss. That theory was developed from the data analysis of medical information from more than 2,215 men and women aged 30 to 60.

Individuals taking prescription sleep aids and experiencing unexplained weight gain may be suffering from this sleep-induced eating disorder. The best way to fight the negative impact of the condition is to make dental care a top priority by scheduling regular dental visits, brushing and daily flossing. Additionally, if a person suspects that they have been eating unconsciously they should keep a glass of fresh clean water by their bedside in order to sip the elixir and wash away acids and food particles left behind by any binge.

Dry Mouth

Human saliva is composed of 98 percent water and 2 percent assorted goodies including electrolytes, mucus, antibacterial compounds, and various enzymes. The naturally produced liquid is instrumental in washing away debris left behind on teeth in order to minimize the production of dental plaque and consequently, cavities. Under normal sleeping conditions, the system will work as intended but for individuals suffering from a cold or who are mouth breathers,