Nighttime snacking is one thrilling part of the day as the journey from our bed to the fridge feels like an adventure. Dark silent surroundings, fear of waking others and getting caught, and the joy alone that the food soon brings, gets the adrenaline pumping. As inviting as it may seem, studies have shown a strong correlation between nighttime munching and tooth loss.
One evident reason for this is that every night before going to bed, we brush and floss. Waking in the middle of the night, having a bite and then going back to sleep with the acids and sugar still on our teeth will erode the enamel overnight and cause teeth to decay. One may be wondering what if we brush again after snacking?
That works to an extent. When we usually brush our teeth, there still remain certain sugars and tiny food bits that have not been thoroughly wiped out. That’s when our saliva comes in and removes the little particles and acids. After dark, however, our body produces less saliva and so it may not remain a great backup, leading to a night of bacteria feasting on your teeth.
Another reason why late night eating is bad is that night is the period of rest and restoration for your teeth when, after the day’s wear and tear, they will finally have time to remineralize. Disturbing this resting cycle with food is bad for your teeth. Moreover, by skipping brushing or using a fluoridated mouth rinse right before going to bed will disrupt the remineralization process as fluoride will be absent, limiting the degree of potential recovery.
If you must remain a nocturnal eater for some reason, you should shift to more plain, non-sugary foods like baked tortilla chips, nuts, and popcorn. This is the only way you can protect your teeth from its harmful effects.