When it comes to keeping your teeth – be careful when you eat. Research shows that sneaking out of bed for late night snacking might translate into more missing teeth later in life.
A 2010 study shows that nocturnal eating (a.k.a. late-night snacking) can predict tooth loss among men and women over the age of 30.
“We hypothesize that consuming foods in the middle of the night, not brushing [or] flossing one’s teeth after nocturnal ingestions, and reduced salivary flow during the night increase the risk of tooth loss in this sample,” said researcher Jennifer Lundgren, a psychologist at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
For the study, researchers looked at 2,436 people who answered the question “Do you get up to eat at night” during a period ranging from 1987 to 1988. The same group of people were surveyed 5-6 years later, and the number of their missing teeth were recorded. Night eaters had almost four more missing teeth than non-night eaters when the second time period rolled around.
The reason for this phenomenon?
People who eat at night and then don’t brush their teeth put themselves at risk for tooth loss because of less saliva flow at night to help clean their teeth.
The results are detailed in the journal Eating Behaviors.
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