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Are You Hurting Your Teeth When You Sleep with Your Mouth Open

Posted on 7/30/2017 by Robert Leale
A man sleeping with his mouth open.
For many people, sleeping with their mouth slightly open is simply a way of life. Whether it's due to difficulty breathing through the nose or some other reason, many people find breathing through the mouth to be more comfortable when it comes to falling and remaining asleep. However, this may not be the best practice for the sake of your teeth.

The Role of Saliva

Saliva plays an important role in protecting your teeth from decay. In addition to keeping the levels of bacteria in your mouth at a lower level due to the constant washing of saliva flowing across your teeth, saliva does something else: compounds in your saliva actually kill the bacteria in your mouth.

This is important because the bacteria produce acid, which, in turn, eats through the enamel of your teeth. So, maintaining an adequate level of saliva helps keep the acid levels in your mouth down.

Mouth Breathing Reduces Saliva Levels

Of course, when you sleep with your mouth open, you tend to breathe in and out through your mouth. This dries out the oral cavity—meaning less saliva to fight the bacteria in your mouth. In turn, acid levels rise, and tooth decay takes place at an accelerated rate.

Some research has indicated that sleeping with your mouth open will raise acid levels just about as much as if you drank a soft drink or orange juice before bed. This is a significant elevation in acid levels.

So focus on sleeping with your mouth shut. If you have a hard time doing so, consider talking to your dentist. He or she should be able to help you with this matter. Your mouth will remain healthier, and your teeth will be in better shape. If you have any questions, or if you would like to learn more, please call us today at (509) 590-1763.
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