Is late night snacking bad for your oral health?
The urge to have snacks at midnight is hard to ignore for some people. Various things compromise your mind to eat snack foods even in the odd hours. You might also have late-night snacking on your sleepless nights. Right? It is not a healthy thing because ill conditions like restricted food intake during the day, stress, insomnia, hormonal imbalances (that increase your appetite) contribute to such night-time binging.
Having a snack or meal at such odd hours is associated with various physiological effects like high blood sugar, weight gain, obesity, etc. Likewise, this practice has awful effects on your teeth, gums, and mouth. Dr. Senthil Kumar explained this here.
How does midnight snacking affect your oral cavity?
Eating such small meals frequently when you wake up in the middle of the night is correlated with various dental damages. Here are the most common aftereffects:
1) Tooth decay
The foods and snacks you eat would leave particles inside your mouth. Such debris stuck between spacing between the teeth and stick to the teeth surfaces. They feed oral bacteria gradually. Such bacteria content will explode at some point, followed by introducing acidic particles that are harmful to teeth and oral tissues.
The salivary flow reduces when you are supposed to sleep. Saliva is pivotal in washing away such food particles. The reduced saliva level creates a dry oral environment. The thriving bacteria take advantage of this and start their invasion, irreversible damage to teeth (i.e.) cavity occurs.
2) Dental erosion
Foods and drinks with pH level below 7 are acidic whereas something with pH above 7 is antacid. In simply, foods and drinks we intake affect the mouth’s pH balance, make it acidic and damage the teeth. This process is called demineralization. Drinking water (its pH level is 7 and is neutral) helps you to address the pH imbalance and reduce the acidic environment in your mouth.
As most of the snacks you are keeping in your fridge elevate the acidic levels in your mouth, late-night snacking is correlated with making your mouth more acidic. Hence, the teeth, gums, and other oral tissues are at risk of acidic attack. When the teeth are frequently exposed to acidic components, the enamel layer loses its mineral value so that it erodes, making the teeth weak.
3) Gum diseases
Eating heavier foods and snacks at odd hours will lead to obesity. Studies show that obese people have 1.8 times more risk of getting gum diseases. The bacteria accumulation and acidic environment in the mouth also affect the gum tissues and end in periodontal disease.
If you want to protect your teeth and oral tissues from such hazardous effects of midnight snacking, indulge in activities to break this habit.
What should you do to stop snacking at midnight?
- Drink more water
- Get deep sleep
- Read a book or listen to music if you feel boredom at night
- Maintain a well-balanced diet
- Go for natural appetite suppressants
- Take foods that are rich in protein and fibers
Remember that the severity of infection in teeth depends on what you eat and how frequently you consume it. Hence, you should avoid certain foods before going to bed, especially foods and drinks loaded with sugar and acidic compounds.
Don’t forget to brush your teeth before going to bed. Such nighttime brushing helps you to eliminate debris lodged between the teeth. Likewise, swish your mouth thoroughly if you even take natural appetite suppressants at midnight.
Want healthy food & snacks choices to safeguard your teeth and gums until you break the habit of midnight snacking? Contact our dentists here. We are ready to help.