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An Informal and Inconsequential Survey

June 24, 2008

Last night, as I got ready for bed, I shut down my computer and slipped on my pajamas. I went to the bathroom and washed my face. I felt a little, well, off but it wasn’t that noticeable and I thought maybe I was just tired. I popped out my contacts and slipped on my glasses. I brushed my teeth. As I stepped out of the bathroom, that “funny feeling” shifted to that “uh-oh” feeling.

I was low.

I tested my blood sugar and rang in at 75 mg/dl. Despite my irritation at having just brushed my teeth, I drank some juice and went to bed.

I typically test my blood sugar after I change into my pajamas and go to bed because my blood sugar meter is on my nightstand and I don’t want to have to get back up again. I feel my lows pretty well, so this situation is very rare. If I do go low after I go to bed, it’s usually half an hour to an hour later.

Now, going low after the nighttime routine is not exactly an unusual situation. It’s happened many times before and it will happen many times later. My question to you is twofold:

First, do you test your blood sugar before or after you brush your teeth and second, if you do go low after you brush your teeth, do you brush them again?

Just curious. There’s no right or wrong answer. I just thought I’d get some reader feedback on this very important conundrum.

As always, your opinion is much appreciated.

  1. Aaron permalink
    June 24, 2008 11:02 AM

    I always check before I brush my teeth. Usually my routine is check blood sugar, bolus for snack, do a couple of things for 15 minutes, eat snack, brush teeth, floss, then go to bed.

    If I do have a low after that, it’s usually a couple of hours later (in the middle of the night). Usually, I don’t brush my teeth after treating the low. But, when I wake up in the morning, I almost always think “I should have brushed my teeth after eating”

  2. June 24, 2008 11:35 AM

    Hi Allison. I test before brushing. But if I forget to test first, and then find that I’m too low, I won’t re-brush if all I have is some OJ. If I eat something, then I’ll definitely brush again before going to sleep.

  3. June 24, 2008 12:48 PM

    Hey Allison,
    My nightime routine is usually check downstairs before i go upstairs to bed, bring the meter up to bed anyway, then pajamas, wash, brush, floss.

  4. June 24, 2008 12:58 PM

    I check after I brush simply because the machine is by my bed. If I’m low and I drink juice, I don’t get up to rebrush. I usually don’t have to “eat” anything to treat my low, but in the event that I do happen to mosey on out to the kitchen to eat, then I will rebrush.

  5. June 24, 2008 1:05 PM

    My mantra is always “test, then brush.” I will have to agree with Jeff, though, in that if I forget, I choose the lazy route and don’t bother brushing again.

  6. June 24, 2008 1:25 PM

    I always test before I brush my teeth. I’ve made that mistake way too many times before too. Juice tastes nasty right after you’ve brushed your teeth anyway 🙂 If I’m low, and I drink juice after brushing my teeth, I don’t always re-brush, I’ll do mouthwash.

  7. June 24, 2008 2:42 PM

    I test b4 brushing – to keep my dentist happy!

  8. June 24, 2008 3:08 PM

    Aw man! You guys are making me feel bad.


    I suppose I should start testing before I head to bed. That’s going to be weird though. Breaking a fifteen year habit is always painful.

  9. June 24, 2008 5:25 PM

    I test before I go to sleep … sometimes that is before brushing and sometimes after. I always rebrush if I have to treat a low. I don’t notice the lows until they are into the 50s.

  10. Autumn permalink
    June 25, 2008 6:11 PM

    I hardly ever re-brush. I will however swish some water or mouthwash around to reduce the amt of cavity-causing sugar clinging to my teeth.

  11. June 26, 2008 4:27 PM

    With my “I’m a dentist” hat on, I’d have to say you should test, then brush. The problem comes if you treat the low with juice. Juices are acidic, so they soften the enamel on your teeth. It takes the saliva in your mouth a minimum of half an hour to buffer those acids and fr the enamel to return to full strength. If you brush during that time you’ll literally be scrubbing your enamel off and spitting it down the sink. So ideally you should test, treat any low with something non-acidic, and then brush.

    Taking the dentist hat off – I frequently forget and test after brushing. Then I eat and… erm… forget to brush again.

    See… I am human after all!!

  12. June 27, 2008 2:00 AM

    Hey Allison,
    I hate that taste of orange juice just after brushing my teeth….I have found that before I ever start getting ready for bed, I try to test my blood sugar before….it’s just easier for me, even though my tester and a bottle of water is on my night stand by then, I know what my number is and the good thing is, if I need juice, I won’t feel annoyed for having to get out of bed to get juice or something to eat.

    But there are times when I break my routine and forget to test before getting ready, so I test, drink juice if I need to, then drink a couple sips of water to swish all that sugar down…only because since I was 4 years old, my mom has always said that I needed to rinse my teeth with enough water after I had juice to rinse the sugar away, I’ll never forget it. 🙂 haha.

    Hope all is well! 🙂 Talk to you soon!! :]

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