How Eight Hours of ZZZs Keeps Your Mouth Happy

With more hours of daylight to work with in the summer, it’s tempting to stay up later to hang out with friends or cross items off your to-do list. But getting the recommended amount of sleep, seven to eight hours for adults1 is still important, even when sunlight keeps you outside until late evening. What makes sleep such an integral part of your oral health? Well, if you’re tired and run down, your immune system probably is too.2 A weak immune system leaves the door open for bacteria or other germs to invade, causes canker or cold sores, and makes you more susceptible to gum disease. Sleep deprivation can also cause memory lapse,2 which means your usual diligence in brushing after meals and remembering to floss before bed may be left by the wayside. In fact, if you’re too tired, you may end up totally skipping your bedtime oral health regimen in favor of your soft, fluffy pillow or waking up too late to do the proper oral care in the morning. Not getting enough sleep is the cause of many failed diets, which is as bad for teeth as it is for waistlines. When we’re tired, people have a tendency to eat more and think about it less. Therefore, you may be making bad food choices for your teeth simply because you’re sleepy.3 If you are drinking caffeine-loaded soda and energy drinks to stay awake, you may also be harming your teeth. These drinks often contain high levels of sugar and acid that can lead to tooth decay and tooth erosion over time. Be sure to get the recommended amount of sleep as much as possible this summer – not only will you be well rested and happy, your teeth will be, too.

1 http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/sleep-requirements
2 http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/importance_of_sleep_and_healthy
3 http://yourlife.usatoday.com/health/story/2011/03/Sleep-deprived-people-eat-300-more-calories-a-day/45227686/1


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