Don’t forget to take care of your teeth after your midnight snack.

There are times when we all get hungry in the middle of the night. Maybe you didn’t consume enough calories during the day, or maybe you have a medical condition, like diabetes, and you need to keep your blood sugar regulated. Whatever the reason, it’s important that you don’t forget your oral hygiene and take care of your teeth before you head back to dreamland.

Don’t head straight back to bed after you snack.

Your only goal at midnight might be to cure your snack craving, but don’t rush back to bed immediately after you get your snack. Sure, it is important to make sure you get your shut-eye, but it is also important that you take care of your teeth. And brushing your teeth immediately after you eat sugary or acidic foods might actually cause more harm than good. If you aren’t brushing your teeth after you have a snack, you are risking plaque buildup on your teeth. Over time, that plaque, which is a sticky, white substance that eats away at the enamel of your teeth, can cause cavities and tooth decay. Some studies suggest that bacteria can continue to attack the enamel on your teeth for about 20 minutes after you eat something, which is why many dentists recommend waiting a bit before brushing your teeth after you eat or drink something.

Wait at least 30 minutes after snacking to brush your teeth.

Many dentists actually recommend that you wait 60 minutes after you eat before you brush your teeth. That is because it has to do with your mouth regulating its own pH. Your saliva produces its own sugar and plaque fighting bacteria, which is why dentists say to wait a minimum of 30 minutes after you eat, but recommend waiting at least 60 minutes after you eat something to brush your teeth.

It’s important to wait to brush your teeth after you have eaten, especially if you have consumed something that is sugary or acidic. This is because acids can temporarily weaken the enamel on your teeth. You need to wait for the saliva in your mouth to do its job and return your mouth to a more neutral pH balance. This is especially important if you have any foods containing citric acid, like oranges, grapefruits, or lemons. Because the enamel gets weakened by the acids in those foods, you take the risk of brushing enamel off of your teeth if you brush immediately after eating these foods.

To brush or not to brush?

You might be tired if you’re getting up in the middle of the night, and you may be tempted to head back to bed without waiting to brush your teeth, but the team at Allred Family Dentistry advises against it. If you can’t wait up to at least a half hour to brush your teeth, there are other precautions you can take to clean your teeth.

If your midnight snack wasn’t anything sugary or acidic, you can get away with brushing your teeth and flossing them right away and then head back to bed.

However, if you have had a sugary or acidic snack, and you need to head back to bed after you eat, dental professionals say at the very least, you should floss your teeth and then rinse your mouth with mouthwash. The flossing  will help to remove any food particles that are stuck between your teeth, and rinsing with mouthwash will help to wash away any bad bacteria that is in your mouth and help to restore the pH in your mouth.

Keep up with your normal oral hygiene routine!

The team at Allred Family Dentistry encourages you to stay on top of your oral hygiene routine by brushing your teeth for at least two minutes at a time twice a day. We also recommend flossing your teeth at least once a day as part of your dental routine.

If you have any questions about your oral health routine, or are looking for suggestions about how to stick to your dental routine, reach out to our team at any time, or take a look at our other blogs for more information.

Don’t forget that besides keeping up with your daily oral hygiene routine, you need to see the Allred Family Dental staff at least twice a year for your bi-annual dental evaluations and checkups.