Skipping a night or two is no big deal, but watch out! It’s easy to fall into a habit of not brushing and flossing.
When you neglect your toothbrush for an extended period, the results can be detrimental to your health. There’s not just one, but many reasons why we’re always pushing our patients to brush twice a day, floss daily, and visit us twice a year.
Periodontitis Quietly Takes Over
As plaque sits on your teeth, it starts to form what’s called super plaque. Eventually, this hardens into tartar and settles underneath your gum line. Those hard bits of plaque irritate your gums, causing gingivitis. Gingivitis is the most common type of gum disease, or periodontitis.
Since it isn’t painful, it’s easy to ignore gingivitis. But when left untreated, pockets start to form at the bases of your teeth, creating a perfect place for bits of food to hang out and feed plaque. These plaque-filled pockets also lead to swollen gums and discolored teeth. Gingivitis affects more than half of Americans.
The most unfortunate thing is that once the bacteria gets into your gums, it’s impossible to get it all out. Once you are diagnosed with gum disease, you will need to visit the dentist every three months (instead of every six months) to remove the bacteria as it builds up.
If You Want Your Teeth to Fall Out, Don’t Brush Them
When left unchecked, periodontitis spreads to your jaw bone and creates spaces that can form pockets between your gums and teeth, causing your teeth to become loose. As your mouth is plagued by gum disease and cavities, your teeth will eventually fall out.
This happens more often than you may think. On average, adults aged 20-64 have lost seven teeth, and 10% of Americans 50-64 have no teeth left.
Your Friends Won’t Be Happy with You
As food decays in your mouth and plaque feeds, a bad-smelling odor is produced. This symptom is called halitosis, and 65% of Americans have it. While it has a number of causes, poor oral hygiene is by far the biggest contributing factor.
Health Issues in Other Areas of Your Body
Your mouth and oral health are like the windows to health in the rest of your body. Bacteria in your mouth can easily travel to other systems in your body.
Some of the other issues caused by poor oral hygiene include:
Pneumonia: When bacteria becomes airborne, it infects your lungs as you inhale it.
Diabetes: Extremely poor dental health causes insulin resistance, which is sometimes called “pre-diabetes.” The relationship between gum disease and diabetes is likely caused by inflammation.
Heart Disease: Through your blood stream, bacteria from your mouth can hitch a ride and travel to your heart where they attach to any vulnerable areas, leading to inflammation that can cause heart issues.
We want all of our patients to keep their teeth and stay healthy for their entire lives. These risks make brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist twice a year seem like a small price to pay.