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Why a Shortage of Sleep May Be Harmful to Your Dental Health

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Many adults get less than the recommended amount of sleep each night, which may be easy to justify due to long work hours, raising children, and even watching TV. While you might dismiss your shortened nightly sleep as being unavoidable, it's ideal if you can make an effort to sleep more. What you might not be realizing is that sleeping too little can contribute to issues with your dental health. Speak to your dentist about how much sleep you're getting, and don't be afraid to ask whether this shortage is already contributing to problems. Here are some reasons that a shortage of sleep may be detrimental to your dental health.

You May Rely on Caffeine

One of the most common ways that people deal with a shortage of sleep is to consume caffeinated products. Coffee and/or tea in the morning and soft drinks at a couple of other times throughout the day can help you to feel alert—but this can come at a cost. If you're consuming soft drinks, they're a considerable source of sugar. This, of course, can elevate your risk of cavities and gum disease. Caffeine can also make you jittery, which may cause you to grind your teeth, potentially to the point that it causes damage.

You May Brush Less

When you don't get enough sleep, you can be slow getting out the door in the morning. For some people, this can mean skipping things such as brushing your teeth. You may decide to use mouthwash or a breath mint to freshen your breath, but these aren't adequate alternatives to brushing. If you're so tired that you aren't making time to brush your teeth in the morning, you may leave yourself at risk of cavities and gum disease. Brushing at night is important, but it's not enough to only brush once per day.

You May Be Stressed

Being chronically tired is highly stressful, and it can result in a variety of problems for your overall health. Where your dental health is concerned, one way that you may react when you're stressed is by grinding your teeth—all because you are not getting enough sleep each night. Grinding your teeth can compromise your dental health in a number of ways. Over time, you may experience sensitivity due to lost enamel, a reduced ability to effectively chew your food, and even the need for a root canal procedure.

Contact a business like Carpenter Dental for more information.