NO, YOU’RE NOT THE ONLY ONE who enjoys sneaking a late-night snack. We know how it is. Some things just taste better after midnight, right? But late-night snacking can actually have a negative impact on your teeth—especially when your orthodontic work potentially leaves even more food behind than normal when you’re finished eating.
A 2010 Denmark study found correlations between late-night snacking and tooth loss. From a research group of over 2,000 adults, 8% were classified as “nocturnal eaters”. Over a six-year period, members of this group were found to have a greatly increased risk of tooth loss.
Why We Encourage You To Brush And Clean Your Orthodontic Work Before Bedtime
Traditionally, before bed is a good time to take care of your oral health and beauty regimes. There’s good reason for that. During the night, saliva production slows down. Saliva is pivotal in keeping your mouth clean—washing away leftover food and reinforcing tooth enamel. It’s like your mouth’s police force. Minus saliva’s full effects during the night—combined with teeth that aren’t clean—leaves bacteria and plaque to better wreak havoc.
There’s another reason too. When you have midnight snacks, what do they typically consist of? Carrot and celery sticks? Probably not. They usually end up being something like leftover birthday cake or cold pizza! Sugars and starches are some of the worst culprits when it comes to tooth decay causes.
What To Do About It
Here’s advice from our practice for facing late-night eating temptation:
- If you have a snack, rinse or brush your teeth afterward.
- Try not to eat or drink anything but water during the hour prior to going to bed.
- When snacking fever strikes, opt for healthier foods—and of course, avoid those foods we’ve cautioned you about that aren’t good to eat during your orthodontic treatment period.
And if you think you have habits that are putting your oral health at risk, contact us and we’ll visit. You can also send us a direct message on Facebook, or comment below if you have thoughts or questions.