We all know that getting enough sleep is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However, a 2016 study from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention revealed that over one-third of adults in the United States do not get the recommended seven or more hours of sleep per night on a regular basis. This lack of adequate sleep can lead to a variety of negative health conditions including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and mental health issues. And now, a preliminary study examining the effects of sleep deprivation on oral health has revealed that there is also a link between sleep deprivation and periodontal disease.

Why is sleep so important?

Data shows that a lack of sleep not only impacts our health in negative ways but that it also increases our risk of death. However, you are probably wondering WHY sleep is so important for maintaining good health and a long life.

Studies have found that the key reasons for sleep’s link to health and mortality are that it strengthens our immune system, reduces inflammation within the body, and regulates hormones. Therefore a lack of sleep leads to a decrease in immunity, chronic inflammation, and unregulated hormones, which result in a variety of diseases and risks.

The link between sleep deprivation and periodontal disease

Knowing the existing link between chronic inflammation and periodontal disease, and the association between a lack of sleep and increased chronic inflammation, researchers decided to study if there is a link between sleep deprivation and periodontal diseases. The study examined 60 healthy individuals ranging in age from 25 to 50 years old, with results finding that the “incidence of periodontitis and gingivitis rose as hours of restful sleep declined.”

Similarly, a study in the Journal of Periodontology examined the link between oral health and lifestyle factors identifying sleep deprivation as the second most significant lifestyle factor impacting study participant’s risk of periodontal disease.

What can we learn from the link between sleep deprivation and periodontal disease?

So now that you know just how important sleep is for not only your health but also your oral health, what can you do to ensure you are getting adequate sleep on a regular basis? WebMD recommends regulating your body’s internal clock by going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day (even on the weekends), using a fan or noise machine to block out sounds, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, and limiting screen use in the hours leading up to bedtime.

Are you worried about how sleep deprivation may be impacting your oral health? At Nashville Restorative Dentistry we specialize in providing holistic dental care that focuses on the cause-and-effect relationship that exists between your oral health and your overall health. Our team is here to help you maintain a healthy smile through a whole body approach to dental care. Contact our Franklin, TN dental office today to learn more about reducing your risk of periodontal disease and improving your oral health.