Holistic dentistry is all about considering how one’s overall health affects their oral health, and vice versa. Studying how connected the body, mind, and mouth are is quite fascinating and can bring you down some surprising roads. For example, did you know that sleep patterns and quality of sleep can impact your oral health? If you want to properly take care of your health, it’s time to get some sleep!

The Immune System & Inflammation

A lack of proper sleep is detrimental to your immune system. Our immune system is the primary line of defense against inflammation and infections of any kind in the body. Poor sleep weakens disease-fighting antibodies that fight off tooth decay and gum disease. As for inflammation, poor sleep causes the body to produce more inflammatory hormones and inflammation can lead to gingivitis and ultimately periodontitis. 

Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Snoring and sleep apnea have been proven to negatively impact someone’s health, including oral health. Both conditions involve sleeping with the mouth open, leaving it dry throughout the evening. Saliva acts as an effective barrier against tooth decay. In addition, dry tooth sockets can make the teeth loose and potentially contribute to tooth loss as the years go by. Sleep apnea, in particular, is often paired with tooth grinding, another destructive action on one’s oral health. 

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Bad Habits

Without proper sleep, it can be very difficult to function throughout the day. This can lead someone to pick up bad habits like excessive coffee drinking or smoking in order to stay awake. Large amounts of coffee can cause acidic corrosion to the tooth enamel. Smoking not only yellows the teeth but it can directly cause gum disease. While not directly connected to sleep, many people do rely on these substances to make up for insufficient sleep. Furthermore, poor sleep hinders decision making and rational thought, both of which are essential in kicking and staying away from bad habits. 

Tips to Improve Sleep

First and foremost, if you suspect you are suffering from sleep apnea or intense snoring, you should seek medical help. These conditions have many harmful effects on the body and should be addressed by a professional as soon as possible. You will need to have a sleep study completed before you can receive a diagnosis and treatment, so it’s best to tackle the issue quickly. 

If you just need some tips on how to sleep better, start by making sleep a priority. Set a sleep schedule that you can realistically accomplish and stick to it. Don’t go overboard and make small adjustments when trying to get to your ideal schedule. Get plenty of exercise throughout the day and avoid eating anything or ingesting caffeine after 7 PM. 

Chamomile tea can also help your body relax at the end of the day. Although it may feel like alcohol or drugs make it easier to sleep, you don’t sleep as well when taking them. Even if you sleep for the proper amount of time you won’t achieve restful sleep. Finding ways to organize your life like making to-do lists can also stop your mind from racing at bedtime.  

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When Sleep Isn’t Enough For Your Oral Health

While proper sleep is beneficial to oral health, it won’t fix everything. When you do have dental issues, it’s best to see an expert holistic dentist. Come meet Dr. Vladimir Gashinsky! Whether you are actively looking for a new dentist or it’s been a while since you’ve been in the dentist’s chair. 

He has been in private practice at his Millburn, NJ office for over a decade, providing exceptional holistic and biological dentistry and surgical expertise in a friendly, home-like environment. Our goal is to give you an experience that you’ve never had before.  If you’re looking for the best that dentistry has to offer, contact us and we’ll schedule a biological dental cleaning for you and your family.