Night Owls May Be at Higher Risk for Cavities
Any night owls in your house? Better pay attention to their teeth because staying up late may mean children neglect their oral health.
A new study published in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene found that kids who tend to stay up later brushed their teeth less often, ate breakfast less regularly and had a higher risk of cavities than kids who went to bed earlier. In fact, the study predicted that the probability of being at high risk of cavities could be almost four times higher for night owls than for early risers.
In discussing the research, Dr. Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, noted, "If you tend to fall asleep before your children, evidence suggests there is a real danger that they are not brushing their teeth regularly, or properly.”
Carter went on to explain that children who stay up late may then sleep later in the morning and skip breakfast, which leads to more snacking throughout the day.
If teeth aren’t cleaned after eating (which is less likely to happen during daytime snacking), the acid from sugar in food can cause tooth decay.
"We are encouraging parents to be aware of their children's oral health habits, even when they are not looking, and try to reinforce the importance of brushing their teeth last thing at night for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste as well as at one other time during the day," Carter says.
Everybody has their own rhythm, and some just naturally stay up later than others. But night owls shouldn’t suffer from poor oral health – so keep an eye on them!