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What’s Going on in Your Mouth While You Are Sleeping?

A good night’s sleep generally consists of eight hours of shuteye, but that doesn’t mean that nothing is going on in your body. Your body will respond to sleep in some ways that can be dangerous to your teeth if you don’t take the proper precautions.

You Experience Changes in Muscle Tension

When you are sleeping, you can either experience jaw muscle relaxation or tension. Most people will experience relaxation when we are at rest, but in certain cases, the muscles can relax to the point where they cause the airway to close. This could lead to obstructive sleep apnea. On the other hand, some people tense up while they sleep and develop bruxism, which is when the teeth clench while asleep.

The result of this issue could be tooth damage or even TMJ problems.

Your Mouth Will Dry Out

While you are sleeping, your saliva production is going to slow down, causing dry mouth. This is what gives us bad breath in the morning, but it also keeps our bodies from producing excess saliva that would require frequent swallowing during sleep. A dry mouth is the perfect breeding ground for plaque and bacteria, so it is important that you brush your teeth before you go to sleep at night.

Bacteria Run Rampant

When your body’s saliva production decreases, bacteria will find themselves in a great environment where they can reproduce and eat freely. Since you won’t be eating overnight, the bacteria will find fewer carbs to feed on and may turn to proteins in the form of your body’s mucous membranes. When digesting these proteins, bacteria can give off gases that will make your breath even worse in the morning. This can be an indication of gum disease.

If it has been awhile since your last checkup, call today to set up an appointment.

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