When you're feeling tired and lazy, it's easy to skip your nightly toothbrushing. But is it as harmless as you hope it is when you're prematurely snuggled under the blankets and willing yourself to get up?
The short answer is no. The American Dental Association recommends that patients brush their teeth at least twice a day, morning and night for two minutes each time. Julie Cho, DMD, and ADA member, recommends spending 30 seconds brushing each quadrant of your mouth (upper left, lower left, upper right, and lower right), making sure to hit all the surfaces of the teeth, as well as the gum lines. And she has some bad news for frequent toothbrushing skippers.
"Fatigue nor laziness is not an excuse to avoid brushing," Dr. Cho says, adding that people should look at the act of brushing teeth as bookends for the day — and realize that it's all part of a healthy lifestyle. "[Brushing] is the only way to mechanically debride your mouth of bacteria, which can lead to plaque and calculus [tartar] and odor."
Unfortunately, rinsing with mouthwash or chewing gum is not a substitute for that recommended two minutes of toothbrushing. But if you need more convincing that skipping out on brushing your teeth is a bad idea, we've spoken to a few dentists to figure our just why this kind of nighttime laziness can be detrimental for our health.
Here's hoping that this will motivate us to get out of bed and into the bathroom when the sheets feel particularly warm and inviting.