A Poor Night’s Sleep Can Cause Dental Problems

sleep-2Most people are aware that a bad night’s sleep can affect their concentration, their energy levels and their mood, but did you know that a sleepless night can also impact your oral health?

Sleep is an essential part of daily life and human beings need sleep in order to function properly; without the right amount of sleep, all kind of bodily functions, from thinking and remembering, to moving about and trying to balance, is impaired. Most of us suffer from a disturbed night of sleep now and again, but if you experience constant problems with your sleep patterns, this can have wide-ranging implications for your health, your professional life and your relationships.

How is a bad night’s sleep associated with dental problems?

One problem which may be associated with oral health and sleep patterns, is bruxism; bruxism is the term used by dentists, like those at Sensu, for teeth grinding or clenching. Many people grind their teeth, but most do it subconsciously in their sleep. Teeth grinding can affect your quality of sleep, as well as contributing to tooth wear and tear and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ disorder or TMD). TMJ disorder is characterised by jaw pain and restricted movement in the joint, which connects the jaw to the skull and it also causes headaches and migraines and a clicking or popping nose when you move your jaw.


Another major cause of a bad night’s sleep is snoring; snoring occurs when air passes through the mouth, causing the soft tissue at the back of the mouth to vibrate, If the airway is not fully open, this can cause noise, which is similar to grunting or snorting, which is known as snoring. Snoring is more common in people who are overweight and people who have been drinking alcohol; it also tends to be more commonplace in those who sleep on their backs, rather than their sides. Some people find that they snore when they have a cough or cold. For advice about snoring and information about snoring treatment, see your dentist.


A bad night’s sleep can contribute to stress, which may have adverse affects for your oral health. Stress is a common cause of teeth grinding and it also increases the risk of gum disease. Gum disease is one of the most common oral diseases, but it is preventable; despite this, gum disease is the leading cause of early tooth loss in British adults.

Getting a better night’s sleep

mind-controlA good night’s sleep has numerous health benefits, as well as making you feel much more alert and content. One of the main reasons people fail to get a good night’s sleep is stress and worrying about things that need to be done, bills that need to be paid or work that needs to be completed and one of the best things you can do before you go to bed is to take some time out to relax and unwind; you may wish to do this by:

• watching a film or television programme
• reading a book
• having a bath
• exercising (at least 2 hours before you go to bed)
• having a massage
• going for a walk

Try to make sure that your bedroom is a relaxing space and avoid taking phones, iPads or computers to bed with you, as this prevents you from shutting off and relaxing. Go to bed when you feel tired, rather than falling asleep on the sofa for two hours and then struggling to fall asleep when you eventually get into bed.