This might sound contradictory, but stay with us: we always tell our patients that they should pay attention when they brush their teeth. That means making sure you brush for at least two minutes twice a day and don’t do other distracting things, such as walking around the house or using your smartphone. To do the best job you can when brushing, your teeth need your undivided attention. However…
There’s something that might need to change about nighttime brushing
Brushing your teeth before you go to bed is an important behavior, and you should try never to skip it. Sleep is also one of the most (if not the most) important nighttime behaviors. And new research says that your nighttime brushing routine might be interfering with getting a good night’s sleep. Here’s why.
Bright fluorescent bathroom lights could be waking you up at bedtime
So if you want a better night’s sleep, a British neuroscientist is suggesting you try brushing your teeth in the dark. Even though most of us usually lower the lights in our homes in the evening, we flip on bright bathroom lights when we go to get ready for bed. And the bright light is very disrupting to the brain. Here’s why.
Light levels affect our natural clock (circadian rhythm)
Circadian rhythm is how the body knows to perform many vital functions, including:
- When to sleep
- When to wake up
- When to release hormones
- When to adjust body temperature
Surveys show we’re not spending enough time sleeping or brushing
Even for those of us who know that we should brush for two minutes, studies have shown our time estimates are way off. And even though most of us understand that sleep is essential to mental and physical health, we don’t get enough. So do something to help your oral and overall health: Use an electric toothbrush with a self-timer, and at night, try brushing your teeth with the bathroom lights off! Plus make sure you see your dentist for regular check-ups. Call for your appointment today: