We all want to have clean and healthy mouths, and attaining them is simple enough, but for some reason, the necessary steps for achieving this goal are often skipped.
The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes each session. This seems easy enough, right? Well, not everyone keeps up with this recommendation, and it could mean health issues beyond pesky breath issues.
What happens if necessary daily rituals like brushing your teeth are foregone? Stick with us and we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know about what happens if you don’t brush your teeth.
What Happens When You Don’t Brush Your Teeth?
Over time, the consumption of foods and drinks can cause the build-up of plaque to cling to your teeth (think sticky, clingy gunk.) Not only is plaque gross to think about, but it can be harmful to your teeth and gums. The long term presence of plaque on your teeth can release bacteria and harmful acids onto the surface of your teeth and beyond.
If left untreated, this build-up can calcify on and around your teeth, turning into tartar (another name for dental calculus), which is an even larger problem. Frequent brushing can alleviate build-up and help fight calculus, but once tartar is on your teeth, it may be too late for at home treatment.
How can you be sure you have build-up?
There is an easy way to recognize plaque build-up on your teeth. Use a mixture of water and food coloring to highlight any build-up. To do so, just swish the solution in your mouth for a few seconds before spitting it out. Any darker or more colorful spots remaining on your teeth are signs of unwanted build-up. Regular visits to your dentist should also help diagnose build-up.
Gingivitis is another consequence of failure to brush your teeth regularly. This serious gum issue occurs when plaque moves into the crevices along the gumline, causing inflammation and pain.
While gingivitis is a non-destructive oral disease, failure to treat it early on may exacerbate the condition, possibly allowing it to advance to periodontitis, which can cause damage to the soft-tissue and even bones.
Symptoms of periodontitis include, but are not limited to:
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums or longer appearing teeth
Perhaps posing a larger social risk than a health risk, bad breath is a common result of failure to brush your teeth thoroughly and regularly.
Whether feeling insecure of possible mouth odor while talking with a friend or pretending to be unaffected by the breath of another person, bad breath is something no one wants to deal with.
To help combat bad breath while you brush, use a fresh toothpaste like Twice’s anticavity toothpaste. The revitalizing peppermint and wintergreen extracts will keep your breath fresh, and your conversations flowing.
Plaque may not be the only thing covering unbrushed teeth. The foods we eat and the drinks we consume can greatly affect the color of our teeth. That bright and shiny enamel we all want can dull and undergo staining as we drink our daily coffee or tea. Smoking is also a large contributor to tooth discoloration.
Brushing your teeth is vital for gently buffing away stains and rinsing stain-causing residue off of your teeth. For best results, use a whitening toothpaste with delicate stain fighting ingredients to keep stains away and boost your smile confidence.
In severe cases, when tooth decay or gum disease have advanced to the point of tooth loss and other major issues, dentures may be necessary. While dentures are more commonly needed by older adults, it is a myth that dental health worsens with age. Outside of dental injury, the need for dentures may be avoided by keeping up a regular brushing and dental care regimen.
This may seem out of the blue in this list, but certain research suggests a possible link between a lack of consistent brushing and the evidence of dementia. More studies would be needed to confirm a direct link, but if there is a chance that teeth brushing can lessen the development of future dementia, we say brush it away!
Make the Most of your Brushing Routine
“Don’t rush when you brush.”
“Sing the alphabet while you brush!”
“You don’t have to brush all your teeth, just the ones you want to keep.”
These fun and silly phrases have been used forever to teach children how to brush correctly and thoroughly. These sayings can even be necessary even into adulthood. Can you guess why? Because brushing your teeth correctly may not be instinctive, though most of us have done it since we got our first baby teeth. Perhaps it’s not just children that need to be reminded how to brush. So let’s brush up on our brushing technique!
Brushing for only a few seconds, brushing too hard or too soft, not brushing enough--these are all ways that brushing may be done incorrectly and lead to the issues listed above.
If you are going to make the time for a brushing routine (and you really, really should), you need to brush twice a day, with gentle circular motions, for at least 2 minutes each time.
Make the most of it by using a good toothpaste, too! Our vegan, anticavity, enamel-strengthening, whitening, sensitivity-relieving toothpaste is as good as it gets. Did we mention it’s vegan, too? Try our invigorating wintergreen and peppermint toothpaste and our calming vanilla lavender mint toothpaste for just $5 while you can!
Brush Your Tongue
Remember that icky and embarrassing bad breath we talked about? Well, brushing your teeth is definitely going to help clear that up!
But, it’s wise to take it one step further by thoroughly brushing your tongue each time you visit the sink for a brushing session. That’s because a bacteria called halitosis can sit on your tongue, trapped in the spaces of its bumpy surface. We know you don’t want that, and we don’t want it for you either.
To easily enhance your brushing and rid yourself of bad breath, fill your mouth with some water, and as you let it pour out over your tongue, brush in a downward sweeping motion. Repeat until your tongue is a healthy pinkish-red color and the white residue is gone. There you have it! Bad breath has improved in moments, as you’ve taken your brushing routine up a notch!
Use an Electric Toothbrush
One effective brushing technique is to brush with gentle scrubbing circles along the teeth and gum line. One way to make this easier is by enlisting the help of an electric toothbrush.
The rotating bristles of a quality toothbrush will do the spinning work for you, while allowing you to control the pressure used. As a bonus, using an electric toothbrush can reduce plaque build-up much better compared to a standard manual toothbrush.
Floss on the Regular
Brushing and flossing should go literally hand-in-hand as part of your oral routine, but it is not uncommon for people to brush several times a day, while disregarding flossing all together.
Toothbrushes may be designed to clean between and around your teeth and gums, but there are small spaces throughout your mouth that can only be reached with floss. If food becomes trapped in these spaces, build-up is likely to occur. So floss away the decay and make it part of your brushing ritual.
Use Toothpaste with Fluoride
Besides giving you that minty-fresh feeling, toothpaste should help you maintain oral health by helping clean and protect your teeth. You may have noticed toothpaste brands sporting a fluoride-free ingredient list, but unless you are unable to use fluoride due to an allergy or other health condition, think of it as an essential ingredient!
Use an Antiseptic Mouth Rinse
Another way to get the most out of your few moments at the bathroom sink each day is to rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash. Having antiseptic qualities means that your mouthwash discourages plaque from sticking to your teeth. Furthermore, swishing with mouthwash helps rinse small particles of food from the spaces in and between your teeth, helping fight off cavities.
As an added benefit, using an antibacterial mouthwash can help relieve pain caused by sores or other issues inside the mouth.
Now that you are equipped with the knowledge of the many benefits of brushing your teeth regularly and thoroughly, you can take on the toothbrush with determination (and don’t forget the gentle circular motions.) Keeping your mouth healthy for the future is a simple process that takes just a few minutes a day on a consistent basis!