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8 Ways Your Sleep and Oral Health Are Connected

Everyone knows that getting a good night’s sleep is important for your overall health, but as part of Sleep Awareness Week 2022, Dr. Leslie-Anne Fitzpatrick wants to recognize the ways your dental health is connected to sleep and the importance of sleep on your oral health.

Sleep Awareness Week takes place between the 13th and 19th of March (in line with Daylight Savings Time) and is the National Sleep Foundation’s national public education campaign that celebrates sleep health and encourages the public to prioritize sleep to improve health and well-being.

The body’s complex system is interlinked, so although a lack of sleep can affect your dental health, your dental health can also affect your sleep. Therefore, it’s important to understand the connections so that you can optimize both your sleep and oral health and look out for any worrying signs.

How Does Sleep Affect Oral Health?

Poor quality sleep can affect your dental health in the following ways:

  • Periodontal Disease — Lack of sleep creates inflammation which can severely affect your gum health and cause periodontal disease (gum disease) and lead to tooth loss.

  • Bruxism — The stresses of daily life can lead to teeth grinding (bruxism). Bruxism can affect all ages and can damage your teeth and also cause other oral issues such as issues with your jaw or bite.

  • Dry Mouth — Lack of sleep can reduce the amount of saliva flow in the oral cavity. This can lead to an issue called dry mouth. The number of bacteria increases and can form a bacterial film that causes tooth decay and bad breath.

How Does Oral Health Affect Sleep?

Some of these same dental issues outlined above can also occur because of issues unrelated to sleep, but can actually affect your sleep quality in the following ways:

  • Periodontal Disease — Gum and tooth pain can lead to dental pain which can keep you up at night and reduce the quality of your sleep. Losing a tooth can also create anxiety which can factor in insomnia.

  • Bruxism — If you find yourself grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw, this can wake you up in the middle of the night and disrupt your sleep.

  • Dry Mouth — Dry mouth is extremely uncomfortable and can be caused by side effects of certain medications or diseases. This oral issue can make it uncomfortable to get a good night’s sleep.

  • Sleep Apnea — This is a common condition caused by an obstructed airway. People with sleep apnea often wake up multiple times a night, which doesn’t allow them to get into a deep sleep. The loud snoring that may come with it not only affects their own sleep but also their partners’ sleep so it’s even more important to sort out this issue so everyone can get some rest!

  • TMJ — If you have a sore jaw or your jaw makes a clicking noise, you may have TMJ (issues with your temporomandibular joint). When you lie down on a pillow, the pain of this may be exacerbated so it may affect your sleep.

Dr. Fitz will be the first port of call for many of these dental issues. Your Petworth dentist will be able to spot issues such as sleep apnea, bruxism, and periodontitis during your regular visits so it’s important to visit the dentist at least twice a year for an exam. Various solutions can be designed to improve your symptoms such as custom mouth guards and providing deep dental cleans to reduce the likelihood of developing dental issues.

Sleep is crucial to our wellbeing, so don’t delay and make an appointment at Solstice Smiles Dental today!


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