Wilmington's Smile Design Center

Wilmington's Smile Design Center

Wilmington's Smile Design Center

Wilmington's Smile Design Center

Wilmington's Smile Design Center

How Lack of Sleep Impacts your Smile


Life is overwhelming at times. Every day brings a new barrage of responsibilities; school, work, loved ones, bills, and more. Amid these never-ending tasks, it is very easy to lose focus on what important – like sleep!

Your body needs a certain amount of sleep every night to function properly — and right now there is no better time to catch up.


When you do not get your body’s required amount of sleep, your health, and quality of life may suffer drastically. Believe it or not, lack of sleep can have significant negative impacts on our bodies, including our dental health. Keep reading to learn about how a lack of sleep can impact your smile.



While most people are concerned about brain fog and dark circles, periodontitis is one of the lesser-known side effects of sleep deprivation. Periodontitis is the development of deep pockets between your gums and your teeth. These pockets will impact the tissue, destroy the bone that holds your teeth in place, and contribute to tooth loss.


A study conducted by The Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine found that individuals who got less than seven hours of sleep per night were at a much higher risk for periodontitis and inflamed gums.


Inflamed gums.

Sleep deprivation affects oral health because it can trigger increased gum inflammation. According to researchers at the Emory University School of Medicine, the body produces more inflammatory hormones when it is feeling run down from no rest. This inflammation can lead to gingivitis and, eventually, periodontitis and tooth loss.


Sleep apnea.

For some, lack of sleep is due to a hectic and chaotic lifestyle. However, for many people, sleep deprivation is often the result of unrecognized sleep disorders. One of the most common conditions affecting your ability to get a good night’s rest is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when your airway becomes blocked, depriving your brain of oxygen. To begin breathing again, your brain awakens you from sleep. This cycle often occurs hundreds of times a night. The result is a significant lack of sleep which will jeopardize your long-term health


If your sleep apnea goes untreated, it may increase your risk of developing potentially fatal health conditions such as:


  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity


At Wilmington’s Smile Design Center, we can treat sleep apnea with a specially designed mouthguard that maintains the jaw in the proper position to keep the airway open while you sleep. There will be no invasive surgery, no pumps, hoses, or masks. All you have to do is put in a mouthpiece before you go to sleep. If you are interested in treatments for sleep apnea, contact us today for a consultation.


TMJ flares.

Several studies confirm that sleep deprivation can make pain worse. When you don’t get the sleep you need, your brain may register stronger pain signals. But, getting adequate sleep when you are in pain can be difficult. We all know how challenging it is to get any sleep, let alone when we are in pain. This leads to a vicious cycle of sleep deprivation and more pain from TMJ as sleep deprivation increases the symptoms of a TMJ disorder.


Michele Simpson, DDS., offers neuromuscular dentistry, which focuses on the healthy relationship among the teeth, jaw joints, and head and neck muscles. Many people live with the pain of TMJ daily because of a lack of diagnosis. Neuromuscular dentistry treats TMJ at its root cause, not at its symptoms. If you feel you may be suffering from TMJ, complete our online contact form today!


Achieve a good night’s sleep.

It is essential to realize that it is not necessarily how many hours of sleep you get that matters. It is more about the quality of sleep. For the best protection of your teeth and gums, you need seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. If you keep getting up in the middle of the night or do a lot of tossing and turning, you won’t get the same benefits. Here are some tips for a quality night’s sleep:


  • Make sleep a priority. The house doesn’t have to be clean right now, and those reports can wait until morning. It is more important that you are healthy and well-rested.
  • Set a sleep routine that is realistic with your schedule.
  • It is not just the time you go to sleep that matters. When you wake up is also important. Make sure you are consistently going to bed and waking up at the same time.
  • Try not to eat anything after 7 p.m. and avoid all caffeinated and sweetened beverages as well. Instead, try some herbal tea before bed. It will help your body relax and prepare for bedtime.
  • Make your bedroom a peaceful sanctuary. Ensure it is uncluttered and that your bed is comfortable. Keep your bedroom completely dark, quiet, and at the perfect temperature, optimal rest.
  • If your mind tends to race once you lie down, leave a notepad and pen by your bed. Write down your thoughts and get back to sleep.


If you are ready to improve your smile and your health, the expert team at Michele Simpson DDS., can help. Call today for a consultation and begin your journey to a healthier you.