• Dr. Sonal Naidu Addal

Night Brushing: A Myth or A Must!

I have had questions from many patients where they ask me- Can they brush only once a day, and is that okay?? So I reply to them, ideally twice is the answer but if they can't then the answer is: YES, you can but it has to be at night! You read it right :)

Let me explain why.

Let’s start by first acknowledging that our mouth (oral cavity) is very important to us, it helps us have food which is the basic necessity for sustaining our body.

Did you know we have very limited natural openings present on our body which are wet and are directly connected to blood stream. Those are mouth (oral cavity ), nose, ears, genitals and anal opening. To begin with, we are so aware of our nose, if something foreign goes in, it sneezes and gets it out or creates irritation, similar is the case with ear. Also I’m very sure everyone maintains strict sanitary hygiene. Now comes our mouth (oral cavity), it’s the only open wet cavity which gets connected to body and is exposed to an array of food and substances right from the time we wake up till we sleep! We start our day by cleaning it and then it has breakfast, snacks, lunches, dinners, beverages, etc and in turn gets exposed to sugars all day every day, which helps bacteria grow in number. Bacteria not only cause gum issues and cavities in teeth but also is related to cardiac issues. A Study done by University of Singapore, has found that 10% patients who had excess bacteria in teeth also had cardiac issues.

Hence, if you can brush only once (due to time constraints/ habits/etc), you may want to consider brushing AT NIGHT! This is because your mouth contains tiny weeny parts of all the foods which we have had through out the day (imagine not cleaning a wet waste bin)! With children it's really necessary to follow this practice. I’m sure, everyone gets the point :)

Brushing in the morning is actually unnecessary, it helps get rids of bad breath which occurs because of low saliva flow while we are asleep. And toothpaste also has menthol or sorts in them which freshens the breath and makes you more active and awake. It is also helpful because, many a times we have acid reflux from stomach, due to our sleeping posture or digestive issues and can harm our teeth by etching away calcium from it(thinning the teeth).

To conclude, I’d say our mouth experiences a lot of stuff cooked at hygienic and unhygienic places, which is made up so many different sugars, acids, salts and the mouth takes it all. Our teeth help us by starting to chew it into small pieces and digestion too starts right at mouth, that’s one place which needs to be kept sparkling clean! Though we have been equipped by self-cleansing action of saliva but we need to do our bit for our mouth and body!

It’s just 2 minutes twice a day!!

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