You may be asleep but this doesn’t mean that there’s nothing happening in your body. The body responds to sleep in ways that can be quite dangerous to your oral health.
Here’s what happens in your mouth while you are in a state of deep sleep.
Saliva production decreases
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Usually, saliva production decreases while you sleep. Saliva is our body’s natural defence against bacteria and the decrease in its production means that the mouth is now a potential site for bacterial attack.
Your body avoids producing too much saliva to avoid the need to swallow it while you sleep. Besides this, the body avoids too much saliva production as it may result in significant fluid loss as saliva escapes from your mouth due to muscle relaxation.
Bacteria get busy
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As stated above, saliva is our body’s natural defence against bacteria. Saliva kills bacteria and also helps break up the protective film or plaque which bacteria produce to keep the saliva away.
So when the body reduces saliva production, bacteria find themselves in a more hospitable environment. In other words, the bacteria find an environment to eat and reproduce freely. Bacteria wreak havoc at night time because you do not eat anything at night. With less carbs to feed on, bacteria turn to a less efficient food-source – protein. Protein may include your body’s mucous membrane. In the process of digesting proteins, bacteria produce sulphurous gases. This is why you have bad breath in the morning.
Your muscles may relax
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Usually, muscles relax as you sleep. This is good as the muscles need to rest. But if you have a certain anatomical configuration of your airway and jaw, the muscles may relax to a point that they let your airway close. This causes obstructive sleep apnea as your tissues prevent you from breathing.
Your muscles may tense
Pic credits: sleepdisorders.dolyan.com
Although the muscles relax during sleep for most people, in around 8 to 16% of the population there’s a chance of sleep bruxism. Sleep bruxism happens when your teeth clench while you sleep. It may also involve biting.
Besides this, sleep bruxism is also a leading cause of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TJD). This disorder causes pain and compromised movement of the jaw point and the surrounding muscles.
Take care of your mouth at night
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In order to avoid the potential consequences of what goes on in your mouth at night, it is important that you take proper care of your mouth during night time. Do not forget to brush and floss your teeth before going to bed. Also, use an antiseptic rinse. Rinsing your mouth prevents bacterial attacks and also decreases the chances of plaque formation.
If you think you might have sleep apnea or sleep bruxism, contact your doctor immediately. Both of these can be brought to control with oral appliance therapy.
Your mouth is the gateway to your entire body. Give us a call on +91 7676 132 132 or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, to know more on this subject.
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