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Why you need an evening dental routine

Wellness Daily spoke with Dr David Hills about the importance of having a dedicated routine each night in order to better look after your teeth and oral hygiene.

1.     Why is it so important to have a regimented evening routine for dental care?

During the night, our mouths basically stop producing saliva. Saliva is extremely important for good oral health as it contains enzymes that destroy bad bacteria, it washes away food particles stuck in your teeth and neutralises acids from bacteria and the food we eat. It's actually pretty amazing stuff! 

So it is during the night that our mouths are most vulnerable to attack from bacteria that cause holes and bad breath. Prior to bed, we must remove food and bacteria from our teeth by brushing, flossing and rinsing. This makes your evening dental care the most important part of your oral health routine.

2.     What are the dangers of not having such a routine?

Failing to stick to a nightly routine of good oral hygiene habits may result in:

* Morning breath and bad breath during the day;
* Increased rate or caries (holes); and
* Increased amount of acid wear on your teeth.

3.     What are the top tips for evening dental hygiene?

* Brush for at least two minutes – use a timer on your phone if needed;
* Brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper. There are loads of bacteria that hide on your tongue to its super important to keep it clean as well;
* Floss between all your teeth. It may bleed a little at first, however the bleeding will stop after a couple of nights of flossing; and
* Rinse and gargle with a fluoride-containing mouth wash.
4.     Why are these top tips so important?

At night, we often neglect our oral hygiene routine as we are too tired. Often it's just brushing for 30 seconds whilst in a comatose state after watching a Netflix series or answering 100 emails. Or worse, we abandon it altogether as it becomes that inconvenient barrier between the couch and bed. 

To build a habit, you must persist with this routine for 60 days. So either tend to your teeth earlier in the evening or remind yourself that it really doesn't take much time out of your life (or sleep) to take care of your oral health. Your mouth will thank you for it!

5.     What advice would you offer to people who struggle to remember to brush at night? 

Use some tricks to ensure you stick to a routine:

* Brush in the shower (I hope that people are showering every day!);
* Set a daily (nightly) calendar reminder on your phone;
* Stick to the routine for 60 days and it will become a habit (psychology shows); and
* Keep a brush beside your bed to remind you.

Dr David Hills is a dentist and founder of iNEEDa Dentist.

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