The Midnight Snack Attack…we have all been there, occasionally. In my Media PA dental office, I see patients whose midnight snack habit is hurting their oral health. If you raid the refrigerator late at night, you may be risking more than your waistline. Danish researchers report that people who frequently consume 25% or more of their daily calories after dinner by eating late-night snacks could be damaging their oral health.
The investigators examined the records of more than 2,000 adult participants, aged 30-60. Although this study was carried out in Denmark, this information is equally applicable in my Media PA dental office . The subjects were evaluated twice during a 6 year interval; 8 percent were nocturnal eaters. These people consumed at least one fourth of their calories each day after the evening meal, and snacked at midnight or later at least twice a week.
The researchers looked at the oral health of the noctural eating group. They compared them to others with similar conditions (age, presence or absence of diabetes or smoking, body mass index and consumption of sugars and carbohydrates) but who were not night-time eaters. After 6 years, the midnight snackers had lost more teeth. Who did the best? People who were not night eaters, non-diabetics and non-smokers!
As a Media PA dentist, I know that people produce less saliva at night. Saliva is useful to remove food particles away from the teeth. Our mouths are naturally more dry at night. If you snack at night and do not brush your teeth before returning to bed, the bacteria in your mouth can multiply by the millions in a few hours. These bacteria can cause tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease, which leads to tooth loss. I suggest that all dentists and dental hygienists discuss nighttime eating behaviors with their patients, as I do in my Media PA dental office. We always remind our patients to brush every night after eating so that they can keep their teeth.
If you think you are a nighttime snacker, talk to your dentist or dental hygienist about your oral health.
Your oral health and dental care is important to me. Life is better with a healthy smile!
Dr. L. Z. Bodak-G
Media PA Dentist