How Sleep Can Impact One’s Oral Health

Medically reviewed by
 Dr. Nayantara Santhi

Dr. Nayantara Santhi

Dr. Nayantara Santhi holds an academic position at Northumbria University. After completing her Ph.D. at Northeastern University (Boston, MA), she joined the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School as a post-doctoral fellow to research how sleep and circadian rhythmicity influence our cognitive functioning.

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Last Updated On January 17th, 2024
How Sleep Can Impact One’s Oral Health

Key Takeaways

  • Poor Sleep Affects Oral Health: Inadequate or disrupted sleep can have a detrimental impact on oral health. It can increase the risk of dental issues such as cavities, gum disease, dry mouth, and bad breath. Lack of sleep can lead to inflammation in the gums, which raises the risk of gum disease, and it can also result in plaque buildup and tooth decay.
  • Benefits of Good Sleep on Oral Health: Quality sleep is crucial for maintaining good oral hygiene. During sleep, saliva production increases, helping to neutralize acid, wash away food particles, and strengthen tooth enamel. Additionally, adequate sleep reduces stress levels, which can prevent teeth grinding and clenching, known as bruxism, and reduce the risk of bacterial infections in the mouth.
  • Sleep Apnea and Oral Health: Sleep apnea, a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep, can have a significant impact on oral health. It often leads to dry mouth, increasing the risk of cavities and gum disease. Addressing sleep apnea through treatment options like lifestyle changes, mouthpieces, or CPAP machines is crucial for maintaining oral health.

Getting enough sleep each night is essential for overall health, but it can also impact oral health. Poor sleep quality or duration can lead to several oral health issues, including an increased risk of cavities, gum disease, and even bad breath. If you are concerned about your oral health and want to ensure that you get the most out of your sleep, this article is for you!

We all know how important it is to get enough restful sleep each night. But did you know that quality and quantity of sleep can also affect your oral health? Inadequate or disrupted sleep has been linked to an increased risk of tooth decay, periodontal disease, and even bad breath. On top of that, insufficient sleep can reduce saliva production, which also increases the risk of cavities.

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So if maintaining good oral hygiene is important to you, then paying attention to how much shut-eye you’re getting each night should be too. This article will discuss why adequate restful sleep is so vital for our dental health, and provide tips for improving your nightly slumber so that you can keep your mouth healthy.

What Is the Connection Between Sleep and Oral Health?

Sleep and oral health are closely linked. When we don’t get enough sleep, our bodies can’t keep up with everyday life’s demands, including our oral health. Not only can lack of sleep affect our mental well-being, but it can also lead to a higher risk of cavities, gum disease, and other dental issues.

It’s easy to forget about the impact of sleep on our lives, including our oral health. But getting a good night’s rest is essential for keeping your mouth healthy and strong. Poor sleeping habits can cause inflammation in the gums, increasing your gum disease risk. Not getting enough rest can also lead to an increase in plaque build-up around your teeth and dry mouth, increasing the risk for tooth decay.

The importance of sleep should always be considered when it comes to caring for your oral health. Taking care of yourself by making sure you get adequate rest each night is vital to maintaining optimal dental hygiene and avoiding potential problems down the road. Being mindful of how sleep affects your mouth could be the difference between a happy smile and needing help from a dentist later on!

The Impact of Poor Sleep on Oral Health

It’s no secret that a good night’s sleep is essential for maintaining physical and mental health. But what about oral health? Can sleep deprivation have an impact on your teeth and gums? The answer is yes – poor sleep can hurt your oral health.

The effects of poor sleep on your mouth are twofold. First, a lack of rest can lead to dehydration, leading to a dry mouth. This in turn can cause bad breath and tooth decay. Secondly, when you don’t get enough rest, the immune system weakens, making it harder for your body to fight off oral infections such as gingivitis.

So if you’re suffering from sleep deprivation, it’s important to improve your quality of rest. A regular sleep routine to help you fall asleep, avoiding caffeine late in the day, and ensuring your bedroom is dark and quiet are all great ways to promote better sleep hygiene. And of course, remember to brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once per day. Taking care of yourself now will help keep your dental health in shape for years.

The Benefits of Good Sleep on Oral Health

Getting enough rest is essential when it comes to keeping your mouth healthy. Sleep helps the body heal and repair itself after a long day, including your mouth. During sleep, saliva production increases which help neutralize acid produced by bacteria in the mouth and wash away food particles. Saliva also contains minerals like calcium and phosphates which help strengthen tooth enamel and reduce cavities.

Additionally, adequate sleep helps reduce stress levels, which can directly affect your dental health. Stress can cause people to clench their teeth or grind their teeth at night, which can wear down tooth enamel and cause jaw pain. Stress also leads to increased cortisol levels, weakening the immune system and making you more susceptible to bacterial infections such as gingivitis. You can improve your oral hygiene and health by sleeping better and managing stress levels more effectively.

Good sleep benefits both physical and mental health, so ensure you get enough rest every night; your teeth will thank you.

The Role of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Poor Oral Health

Sleep has a significant impact on your overall health. But did you know sleep deprivation can also affect your oral health with obstructive sleep apnea? Let’s take a closer look at the role of sleep apnea Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source in poor oral health.

Sleep apnea is a more serious sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. Left untreated, it can have severe consequences for your oral health. People with obstructive sleep apnea are at an increased risk of developing cavities and gum disease.

This is because people with sleep apnea have mouths that are constantly dry due to their difficulty breathing. They may also be more prone to jaw pain from grinding and clenching their teeth (sleep bruxism), which can lead to further dental problems down the line. Read more about the link between OSA and teeth grinding.

Bruxism can also occur during periods of stress or anxiety while awake. Bruxism can lead to tooth damage, jaw pain, headaches, and other oral health problems if left untreated. It is estimated to affect up to 20 percent of adults Verified Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The United States’ health protection agency that defends against dangers to health and safety. View source and can be treated with various approaches such as mouthguards, stress reduction techniques, and dental correction.

Treating obstructive sleep apnea is essential for maintaining good oral health. If you have sleep apnea, you must speak with your doctor immediately. Several treatment options for sleep apnea are available, such as lifestyle changes, mouthpieces, and CPAP machines. These treatments can help reduce sleep apnea symptoms and improve your oral health in the long run.

Some lifestyle changes may take time, like losing weight. Others can be simple, such as using a wedge pillow or trying mouth exercises to tone up muscle and ease snoring.

For more severe cases of sleep apnea, a BiPAP machine may be used instead of a CPAP machine. Surgery for sleep apnea may eventually be recommended if more moderate measures fail.

How to Improve Your Sleep Quality

Sleep is essential to our overall health, so it’s no surprise that it dramatically impacts our dental health. The body cannot heal properly when we don’t get enough sleep. This means that any inflammation or infection in the mouth won’t be able to heal correctly and can even worsen over time. Poor sleep can also lead to dry mouth, increasing tooth decay and gum disease risk.

So yes, getting a good night’s sleep is essential for your overall health. Unfortunately, many of us struggle to get the quality sleep we need and deserve. But, don’t worry, there are steps you can take to improve your sleep hygiene and overall quality.

Lifestyle changes are important. Try sticking to a consistent bedtime sleep routine, even on weekends! Avoiding caffeine late in the day and turning off electronics before bedtime are important steps toward getting better quality sleep.

Finally, creating a comfortable sleeping environment can go a long way toward helping you drift off into a deep slumber. You can invest in blackout curtains or noise-canceling headphones for optimal sleep quality. Keep screens out of the bedroom if you can and ensure that the temperature of your room is comfortable.

If you are struggling with more severe sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, consider talking to your doctor or dentist. They can provide valuable insight into how you can address these sleep disorders and help you make changes that will ultimately benefit your overall health.

Following these tips and prioritizing healthy sleep habits can help promote good oral hygiene and protect your teeth from damage caused by poor-quality rest.


What are oral signs of sleep apnea?

One of the oral health signs of sleep apnea is grinding your teeth. A narrow jaw, a tongue with scalloped edges, or redness in the throat (produced by snoring a lot, which is another symptom of sleep apnea) are also indicators of the condition. Sleep apnea can also induce daytime sleepiness. People who have trouble breathing wake up frequently during the night, which reduces the quality of their sleep and makes them tired.

What is dental sleep medicine?

Dental Sleep Medicine is the branch of medicine that focuses on investigating the oral and maxillofacial factors that contribute to and are affected by various sleep-related issues. It is for the treatment of sleep disorder breathing, such as snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, and is a field of dental practice that focuses on the use of oral appliances to treat these conditions.

Does lack of sleep affect oral health?

Insomnia can bring on various oral health problems, including those mentioned above. Problems such as bleeding gums, loose teeth, gum infections, and teeth grinding are examples of some of these concerns. If it is allowed to continue for an extended period of time, it can potentially cause tooth decay and the loss of teeth!

What is a visible symptom of poor oral health?

Cavities (also known as tooth decay), gum disease (also known as periodontal disease Verified Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The United States’ health protection agency that defends against dangers to health and safety. View source ), and oral cancer are some of the most frequent conditions affecting our oral health. More than forty percent of adults say that they have had discomfort in their mouth within the last twelve months. To make matters even worse, by the age of 34, more than 80 percent Verified Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The United States’ health protection agency that defends against dangers to health and safety. View source of adults will have had at least one cavity.

Why might I wake up with a dry mouth?

Your morning dry mouth, medically known as xerostomia, Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source  might be caused by hyposalivation, a condition with insufficient saliva production. Saliva is antimicrobial and keeps your mouth clean in addition to keeping it moist. You could also have symptoms like burning in your mouth in addition to dryness.

You might also produce less saliva when dehydrated or if you’re anxious or nervous. Breathing with your mouth open while sleeping can also dry out your mouth faster.


Sleep and oral health are closely linked. Poor sleep can harm the mouth, leading to tooth decay, gum disease, and more. On the other hand, good sleep habits can help keep your teeth and gums healthy. By sticking to a regular sleep schedule when going to bed and waking up in the morning, you promote consistent circadian rhythms.

Try exercising regularly for better sleep and practicing good oral hygiene to get better sleep for improved oral health. Reducing stress levels and identifying underlying conditions like sleep apnea can also be beneficial. Taking steps to improve your sleeping habits is essential for maintaining a healthy smile.

It’s important to remember that everybody needs different amounts of sleep to function well. You may find that you need more or less than the recommended 8 hours per night; listen to your body and adjust accordingly.

Everyone deserves a good night’s rest to wake up energized and refreshed. And with proper care of your teeth through regular brushing and flossing combined with adequate rest, you can look forward to optimal oral health for years to come.

Finally, if you’re having trouble getting enough quality sleep at night, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from your doctor or dentist. They’ll be able to provide advice tailored specifically to your individual needs so you can start enjoying the many benefits of better sleeping habits right away.

About the author

Eric Ridenour is a health and wellness writer with a strong focus on sleep and nutrition. With a background in health science and psychology, Eric has a deep understanding of the connection between sleep and overall well-being. His expertise has been sought by various businesses and individuals, and his work has been featured in reputable publications such as Thrive Global, Drug Report, and Authority Magazine. Eric's commitment to promoting better sleep and comprehensive wellness is evident in his writing and consultations. He is a published author working on his second book.

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