The short answer to this question is absolutely. Bad oral hygiene affects the whole body in ways that are only beginning to come to light. Poor oral hygiene can lead to pain in the mouth, inflammation of the gums, decreased blood sugar regulation, and stress, all of which affect sleep in profound ways.
Poor oral hygiene can cause pain
Probably the most obvious effect on sleep is pain. We’re not just talking about blinding toothaches, either. Even minor aches and pains can cause “microarousals”: miniature events that jolt you out of deep sleep and reset your sleep cycle. These can lead to feelings of fatigue in the morning.
Inflammation is caused by bad oral hygiene
Many of the adverse health effects of bad oral hygiene are related to inflammation. Inflammation is the response of blood vessels to things that shouldn’t be in the body: bacteria, particles, etc. Unfortunately, though inflammation is localized, the inflammation response stresses the cardiovascular system as a whole. The heart pumps faster to clean out the inflamed blood vessels. When the heart pumps faster, it triggers a feedback loop by signalling the body to produce more adrenaline. This makes it harder to sleep. Worse still, the adrenaline glands are often exhausted by morning, making it very difficult to feel excited about the new day.
Oral hygiene alters blood sugar regulation
Although the mechanism by which this happens is unclear, the data suggests that poor dental hygiene affects blood sugar regulation, especially in diabetics. It is possible that the added stresses of pain or inflammation increase the metabolic rate, causing blood sugar to drop faster than it should. This leads to low blood sugar events that interfere with good sleep.
Stress is linked to poor oral hygiene
The link between dental hygiene and mental health is obvious, but that didn’t stop the medical community from looking into it. According to a National Institute of Mental Health study, 53% of patients being treated for gum disease experience low self-esteem, which can be stressful to the point that by itself it can cause bouts of anxiety, depression, and, of course, insomnia.
The process of taking care of teeth and seeing the positive results can be wonderfully rewarding and relaxing. By going through actions of self-care, people build up real self-esteem that carries them through the day. This both prevents stress and makes managing stress easier. Brushing your teeth for a generous two to three minutes will help you in both your days and your nights.