You can probably guess that not brushing your teeth leads to oral health problems, such as cavities and gum disease. But did you know that it can also have dire consequences for overall health, causing problems for other parts of your body? Studies have even linked poor oral hygiene to respiratory diseases and heart attacks, so brushing your teeth is something you should take seriously.
What Happens If You Don’t Brush Your Teeth?
Brushing your teeth regularly keeps bad bacteria at bay — on the flip side, not brushing your teeth allows for harmful bacteria to take over. Sugary foods in particular leave a sticky film of bacteria called plaque on your teeth, which contains acids that damage your tooth enamel. Eventually, the enamel breaks down and causes cavities, which are essentially holes in your teeth that can grow bigger and deeper overtime if left untreated. Studies show that over 30% of adults in the U.S. have untreated cavities! Other than cavities, not brushing your teeth can lead to gum diseases like gingivitis (think red, swollen, bloody gums), which can lead to periodontitis, a more serious gum infection. In time, this can progress into permanent bone, gum and tooth loss. As mentioned above, beyond oral health, excess bacteria in the mouth can cause serious problems for your immune system and overall health.
If the reasons above aren’t enough to motivate you, not brushing your teeth can also cause bad breath, stains and discoloration.
How Long Does it Take for a Cavity to Form?
Fortunately, cavities take time to form, giving you time to put a stop to tooth decay if you catch it early. Typically, cavities take several months or even years to form, though this depends on other factors, including but not limited to your diet, oral hygiene, tobacco use, and age. For example, young children have weaker enamel, so are more susceptible to cavities and tooth decay.
Twice a Day Minimum
With all this in mind, it’s easy to understand why it’s so important to brush your teeth not once, but at least twice per day. This removes plaque in time so that it does not harden into position. Even if you diligently brush your teeth twice a day, brushing alone can miss 75% of your mouth and leave millions of germs behind. That’s why dentists recommend you not only brush at least two times a day but also floss, use mouthwash, limit your sugar intake, and visit the dentist regularly.
Keep Those Pearly Whites Lookin’ Good!
Your oral health is a serious matter! Next time you think about skipping out on brushing your teeth, think of all the problems it can cause down the line.
But remember, regular brushing alone is not enough — deep cleaning every now and then is crucial. For most adults, it is recommended that you visit the dentist for a cleaning and checkup at least twice per year, or every six months. This will ensure your oral hygiene is on track and help prevent all the problems listed above. If you’re looking for a dentist in Oregon, contact Nicholson Family Dental to schedule a teeth cleaning today!