Do you remember your parents admonishing you every night to brush your teeth before going to bed? Do you remember that it was always the norm? The first step at bedtime was always to brush your teeth. Most times, your parents would check that you had done so before allowing you to go to sleep. Do you still maintain that routine? Or are you more prone to skip that step? If you do, is it a frequent occurrence, or does it happen more rarely?

If you find that you tend to skip brushing your teeth before bed, you should endeavour to break that habit. It may have far more reaching consequences than you had expected, which can be detrimental to your oral health. Here are a few reasons why brushing your teeth before bed is crucial:

As you go through the day, the foods and beverages you eat and drink create bacteria. The bacteria grows and accumulates with your mouth. These accumulations form a sticky, film-like substance that tends to stick to the surface of the tooth. This film is known as plaque. If left unclean, the bacteria from the plaque will begin to eat away at your tooth enamel. It may also cause the development of gum disease and cavities. Untreated plaque forms tartar, a hard substance yellow or white that accumulates on the teeth and around your gums. Tartar can cause inflammation, bleeding gums, and most severely, the loss of teeth. Once tartar has formed, the only way to ensure it is completely cleared away is to see a dentist for cleaning.

Your mouth consistently has a build-up of acid. The only thing that prevents the acid from harming you is your saliva. There is calcium in your saliva which neutralises the acid. This process is interrupted at night when you produce less saliva as you sleep. Less saliva means higher acid levels, which permits the bacteria in your mouth to eat your teeth. Brushing your teeth before bed counters this lack when the fluoride left in your mouth after brushing encourages saliva production, which keeps the acid at bay.

High-fibre foods leave tiny particles in your teeth that you can easily miss. If you brush your teeth before bed, you will be able to dislodge these particles before they can accumulate and start to form cavities.

Skipping the nightly routine of brushing the teeth is ill-advised and should be avoided. Even when you feel as though you are too tired to stand at the sink, you should try to find some motivation to take the extra five minutes to brush your teeth. Do your best to make it a habit so that you are more likely to stick to it. Here are some tips on how to make it easier to form the habit:

  • Don’t brush alone- bring a second person into the ritual; invite someone you live with to join you in your nightly ablutions. Doing so motivates you to stick to the routine as you become accountable, not just to the other person but also to yourself. 
  • Have a reminder- eliminate the likelihood that you will forget to brush your teeth by setting a reminder on your phone or tablet.

Brushing your teeth twice daily is the foundation of good oral hygiene and optimum oral health. It prevents the formation of many ailments and hardships, which can easily lead to more severe conditions. Brushing your teeth before bed every night can make your visits to the dentist a simple matter of routine rather than anxiety-ridden obligations that are best avoided as long as possible.