Bad breath is said to ensue after a night spent munching on snacks. The relationship between oral health and night shifts is quite obvious as come nightfall, there is a noticeable reduction in the flow of saliva in the mouth. Reduced salivary flow directly affects oral health. We live in a tough world where we all struggle to make ends meet due to which some among us work late owing to the nature of our jobs such as doctors, customer service representatives, security officials, etc.
Saliva serves the primary function of cleansing the mouth of food particles and debris. At night time, salivary flow is reduced by a staggering 50-75%. If any food or drink is consumed when the mouth is relatively dry, it tends to stick to one’s teeth, gums, as well as other surrounding tissues which in turn contribute to food accumulation and stagnation. Food accumulation triggers acid buildup inside the mouth. Acidic environments thus promote bacterial colonization and the formation of dental plaque. Prolonged exposure and simultaneous buildup lead to the deterioration of oral health.
Several clinical cases presented in the clinics revealed some interesting findings in employees who worked during the night shift. Frequent episodes of illness involving stomach aches, digestion problems, flu, and viral infections were some of the general health findings. With regards to dental health, bleeding gums and mouth ulcers were also fairly common presentations. After careful examination and detailed study, it was revealed that the subjects had multiple cavities, ulcers, and infected gums, all supposedly related to a late night snacking and drinking habit during late night work hours.
Snacking is not a healthy habit especially when done at night. In addition to general health problems such as weight gain, sluggishness, etc, oral health is heavily impacted by this habit as evident from these results. People who work late night shifts are advised to rinse their mouths thoroughly after food and drink consumption and should consider opting for healthier snacking options. Avoid junk food and caffeine and instead, go for healthy items such as fruits or vegetables. In addition to all that, maintain a good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day and flossing regularly.