If you’re diligent about your oral care, taking care of your smile involves both a morning and an evening routine of brushing your teeth.
Brushing your teeth before bed can remove harmful plaque and bacteria that have accumulated throughout the day, leaving you with a clean and healthy smile. Skipping brushing before bed can leave these substances to build up even more, and can increase your risk for cavities and gum disease.
Cleaning your teeth in the evening sounds simple enough, but what else can you do to improve your nightly oral care routine? Consider the following tips to protect and enhance your smile even more!
Floss Before You Brush
Flossing your teeth before bed is an excellent time to floss because you can remove food particles and plaque from between your teeth that would otherwise sit in your mouth all night. Flossing takes just a couple minutes and makes a world of difference when it comes to your oral health.
Although you can certainly floss after you brush, evidence shows that flossing before you brush actually nets the most benefits . Because flossing helps loosen the food particles from between your teeth, brushing and then rinsing can help give you a cleaner smile than flossing after brushing.
Wait an Hour After Eating Before Brushing Your Teeth
Ideally, you should wait 60 minutes after eating (or drinking anything other than water) before brushing your teeth in the evening, according to the American Dental Association .
When you eat or drink, the natural acids in the foods or beverages you consume get absorbed by your tooth enamel, which is porous. As a result, tooth enamel is actually weaker for up to an hour after you eat, so brushing isn’t a good idea.
If you can, hold off at least 30 minutes before giving your teeth their final brushing for the night. If you can wait an hour, go for it!
Consider Using an Electric Toothbrush
Both manual and electric toothbrushes do the job of cleaning your teeth to remove plaque, debris, and bacteria. However, research shows that electric toothbrushes perform better than manual when it comes to oral health .
Electric toothbrushes are particularly beneficial for gum health, so those who are at risk for periodontal disease, or who are recovering from gum disease, could especially benefit from switching to an electric toothbrush.
Whether you use a manual or electric toothbrush, make sure the brush head is soft. Soft- bristled toothbrushes are recommended by the ADA and are the best tool to brush your teeth without damaging your tooth enamel.
If You Have a Retainer or Mouth Guard, Wear It!
If you’re one of the millions of people who has an oral appliance they should be wearing at night, be sure to wear it. If you’ve received orthodontic treatment in the past, it’s recommended to wear your retainer nightly for life to keep your teeth in their place and prevent shifting that can affect the appearance of your smile.
Are you a teeth grinder? If so, you may have a mouthguard to wear at night to protect your teeth. Whether you have a retainer or a mouthguard, wear your oral appliances as recommended in the evening to protect your smile and keep your teeth straight!
What’s Your Nightly Oral Care Routine Like?
Brushing your teeth in the evening is, of course, a beneficial practice that will enhance your dental health. However, by making a couple of the adjustments mentioned above, you can keep your smile even healthier and protect your teeth and gums from cavities and gum disease!