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5 Ways Oral Health and Sleep Are Connected

We all know how important sleep is for our mood and energy, but did you know how important sleep is for your oral health and vice versa?

During National Sleep Awareness Week 2022, which takes place between 13-19 March, 2022, the team at Greg L. LaVecchia, DMD, PC want to highlight the ways your dental and oral health is connected to your sleep. Sleep Awareness Week is the National Sleep Foundation’s public education campaign that celebrates sleep health and encourages the public to prioritize sleep to improve health and well-being.

There are several ways in which your oral health and sleep are interlinked which we have outlined below:

  1. Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease) — Poor sleep creates inflammation in your body which can severely affect your gum health and cause gum disease which can eventually lead to tooth loss. Tooth loss in turn can also create anxiety and a stressful night’s sleep, causing insomnia. Painful tooth and gum infections can also keep you up at night, so it’s important to take good care of your teeth and get a great night’s sleep to improve your oral health.

  2. Bruxism — Nighttime bruxism, commonly known as teeth grinding or teeth clenching, can affect people of all ages and can damage your teeth which can cause a painful night’s sleep. It can also lead to other oral issues with your jaw or bite.The stresses of daily life can lead to bruxism at night, so it’s important to have a relaxing pre-bedtime routine and find ways of reducing your stress levels so you can enjoy a good night’s sleep.

  3. Dry Mouth — Being awake a lot in the night can reduce the amount of saliva flow in your mouth which can lead to “dry mouth” as the number of bacteria increases and can form a bacterial film that causes tooth decay and bad breath. Dry mouth can also be caused by side effects of certain medications and can be extremely uncomfortable, causing more sleeplessness.

  4. Sleep Apnea — If you’ve been told by your partner that you snore, a common cause is due to an obstructed airway, a common cause of a condition called sleep apnea. People with sleep apnea often wake up many times a night so they can’t reach a deep sleep, an important stage of sleep that helps repair the body and improve your immune system.

  5. TMJ — If you’ve noticed a pain in your jaw or a clicking noise when you chew you may have temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues. This type of pain can be exacerbated when you lie down and can affect your sleep.

It’s important to visit Dr. LaVecchia and the dental team in Arlington at least twice a year for your dental exam and cleanings. At these appointments, we can notice early signs of these conditions and offer solutions to help improve your oral health and as a result, your sleep. If you are aware of any stress issues that might affect your sleep, it’s important to get help right away as a lack of sleep is not only detrimental to your oral health, but also your overall health. Please let our team know if you need any resources to help.

If you notice any of the signs above, please make an appointment at our dental office in Arlington so we can treat your symptoms and ensure you have a much more comfortable night’s sleep!


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