The Connection Between Sleep and Oral Health

By August 27, 2014 August 26th, 2015 Uncategorized
Sleep is the only real cure-all in medicine. We simply cannot overstate how important good sleep is for your health and general well being. It’s your body’s opportunity to rest, regenerate, fight infection, perform maintenance, clean the brain and so much more.

There is also a direct link between good sleep and your oral health. That’s what we’re going to discuss today.

Sleep and oral health

Recent studies, including one from the Osaka University Graduate School of Dentistry, have found that periodontitis is directly influenced by the amount of quality sleep you get.

Periodontitis is a collection of diseases that can inflame the gum and affect the bone that secures teeth to the jaw. Often incorrectly referred to as gum disease, periodontitis is actually the next stage on from gingivitis. Left untreated, it can cause loose teeth and even tooth loss.

The study assessed 200 factory workers and regularly checked their oral health, monitored their lifestyle and took into account all factors relevant to their wellbeing. They found that workers who had between 7 and 8 hours of good sleep a night were far less prone to periodontitis than those who had less than 6 hours sleep.

Poor sleep was found to be the second most contributing factor to periodontitis after smoking.

In corresponding research, the Emory University School of Medicine found higher levels of an inflammatory marker, C-reactive protein, present in those who get less than 6 hours sleep a night. This marker is believed to contribute to increased inflammation, one of the main symptoms of periodontitis.

Quality over quantity

Many studies have been conducted over the years to assess how sleep benefits us, why we need so much and how much is “ideal.” The only thing they all seem to agree on is that it’s the quality of sleep that’s more important than quantity.

Even if you get a full eight hours rest, if you’re not sleeping deeply enough, waking up during the night or are restless, this can compromise your overall wellbeing as well as your oral health.

As holistic dentists, we are naturally interested in the body’s natural restorative process and how it can benefit us all. Sleep is the most powerful healer, which is why doctors and health professionals talk about it and promote is so much.

In the end, medicine is built around helping the body do what it needs to do to keep you healthy. Sleep is a hugely important part of that.