On the one hand, it should be a surprise. But on the other hand, it’s a shocking fact: 20% of Britons admitted to not brushing their teeth on weekends. Jokes about British teeth aside (and recent data says they may be as good as or better than American teeth), it’s likely that a similar proportion of Americans would say the same thing. Unfortunately, this failing can put your teeth at risk, because, unlike some of us, apparently, plaque doesn’t take weekends.
Excuses for Not Brushing on the Weekends
When asked why they didn’t brush on the weekends, Britons gave many reasons. For some of the people, brushing was something that they did before they went out. A quarter of non-brushers said if they didn’t go out on a weekend day, some people said they just wouldn’t brush.
And some people blamed hangovers for not brushing–this reason was given by another quarter of non-brushers.
But mostly, people just said they couldn’t be bothered–40% of non-brushers said it was too much trouble to brush on the weekends.
Brushing on Weekends Might Be More Important
We understand that brushing your teeth takes a full 10 minutes out of your weekend, but it’s an important habit to remember, even on the weekends. Maybe especially on the weekends.
People eat more on the weekends, consuming an average of 100 more Calories on a weekend day than a weekday. And more of those calories are likely snacking calories. Snacking is worse for your teeth because it ensures that oral bacteria have a steady supply of food to make a steady supply of acid that can attack your teeth.
And if you’re consuming more alcohol on weekends (such that you’re getting hangovers), then your body needs more help controlling oral bacteria. Saliva is your body’s natural antibacterial fluid, but when you’re dehydrated, you produce less of it, which allows bacteria to flourish and create a more acidic environment.
Even sleeping in can be bad for your mouth (not to mention your sleep patterns–it’s best to maintain a consistent sleep schedule). When you’re asleep, your saliva production reduces, which allows bacteria to grow rampant in your mouth (that’s why you get morning breath). The longer you sleep, the more time bacteria can exploit this situation. You need to brush before bed to remove plaque from your teeth and reduce the damage to your teeth.
Oral Hygiene Is an Important Part of a Healthy Lifestyle
Contemporary Dentistry is a holistic dentistry practice, and we strongly believe that oral hygiene and lifestyle work together to ensure good oral and overall health. If you are taking a break from oral hygiene on the weekends, it’s indicative that it’s not just hygiene that’s responsible for oral health problems you may experience.
Consuming alcohol to excess is never healthy, even if you do it on the weekends. It’s best to consume alcohol in moderation so that it doesn’t interfere with other healthy habits, like toothbrushing.
It’s also important to maintain consistent eating habits and sleeping habits so that the weekend doesn’t become your time to binge on either–it’s not good for your teeth and it’s not good for your health.
Most of all, it’s important to remember that oral hygiene is a small investment–again, just 10 minutes out of your weekend–with a big payoff. Preventive care helps our practice of minimally invasive dentistry. Not only can you save your teeth, but you can protect your heart, lungs, and even your life.