What Can Happen When You Don't Brush Your Teeth

Ever since I was little, I was taught to brush my teeth at least twice a day. While that may be common advice, it seems no one tells you that accidentally skipping this crucial step could actually be detrimental to your health. Without you realizing it, you might be making dental hygiene mistakes every day. Even though you may be thinking missing once a day can't do that much harm, you might want to rethink that.

Brushing your teeth is vital to having good oral hygiene. It keeps your teeth pearly white, makes your breath so fresh, and it can save your life. While I don't mean to be dramatic, it's the truth. According to How Stuff Works, the human mouth houses over 600 types of bacteria. While some bacterias may be good, the majority are not — take plaque, for example. When you accidentally forget to brush your teeth (or decide that getting out of bed at night for a two-minute scrub down is out of the question), you're allowing germs to grow and enter into your bloodstream which can eventually cause damage to your health. Sounds gross, right?

But there's a way to keep you're teeth healthy and strong. "The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing twice daily and flossing once a day are two critical behaviors to help prevent the risk of all oral infections. Regular dental cleanings (every 6 months) also help to prevent and to early diagnose oral diseases," says general dentist, Dr. Luciana Ravazzi in an interview with Bustle over email. If you want to know what kind of damage can happen if you don't regularly brush your teeth, below are just a few ways you may be harming your pearly whites.

1. You Can Lose Your Teeth

While brushing your teeth might seem like a chore, it's important to do so you don't lose your chompers. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, if your gums are bleeding, it could be a sign of gum disease. While scrubbing your teeth daily will prevent it from doing harmful damage, if not careful, it could lead to gingivitis, which can create pockets in between the teeth and cause infection. "Poor oral hygiene can lead to tooth and gingival (gum) infections due to the massive presence of pathogenic bacteria (bacteria that cause diseases). Severe bone loss leads to tooth loss due to lack of tooth retention in the mouth (no bone to hold tooth to dental arch)." says Dr. Ravazzi.

2. You Can Have Bad Breath

Nothing is worse than talking to someone who has bad breath. Not only does it smell awful, but it can also indicate health issues. According to WedMD, 80 percent of bad breath comes from an oral source. While that may be a clear indicator of bad breath, it could also come from other medical conditions like diabetes, acid reflux, or liver disease. To prevent bad breath, make sure you have a healthy diet, regularly go to the dentist, and brush your teeth. "Bad breath (halitosis) can come from different sources, such as, poor oral hygiene, decayed tooth, gum disease and also systemic diseases. The patient should have a complete oral evaluation by dentist in order to rule out possible oral sources. If no oral conditions are found, patient should be referred to medical doctor for checkup," says Dr. Ravazzi in an interview with Bustle over email.

3. It Can Lead To Diabetes

If you're not careful, diabetes can arise if you don't take care of your teeth. According to Business Insider, having poor oral hygiene could be a risk factor for insulin resistance or pre-diabetes because of increase inflammation. While it's already known that someone who already has diabetes is at a higher risk for periodontitis (serious infection the gum tissue), this new study implies one can get diabetes if they don't brush their teeth daily.

4. You're At Risk For Dementia

It seems there may be a correlation between not brushing your teeth and the deterioration of your brain. According to WebMD, researchers from the University of Central Lancashire School of Medicine and Dentistry studied 20 donated brains (half with dementia and half without). In four of the brains with dementia, they found the bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis. While this theory is still being studied, it could mean oral health is more important than we thought.

5. Germs Start To Multiply

When you don't brush, you're allowing germs to grow on your teeth. "Bacteria dwell in the mouth and teeth when you do not brush. The sugar and food particles stuck between your teeth allow them to thrive," said Leonard J. Brenner, DMD, FAGD, on his website. Try to brush two times a day to prevent this from happening.

6. You May Get Cavities

While it may seem harmless to accidentally miss brushing your teeth for one day, it's actually doing more damage than you think. “You can start the process of a cavity by not brushing once, absolutely,” said Deepinder "Ruchi” Sahota, DDS in an interview with The Huffington Post. Make sure you're also seeing a dentist to help get rid of tartar, too.

7. You Can Get Gum Disease

"Over time, your gums lose their attachment to your teeth. They pull back so that more of your tooth is exposed below the gumline. Now you can get a gumline cavity in each tooth. Yuck! Gums recede with age and it happens faster while you’re pregnant. The issue is bacteria accumulating in the pockets, which is why mouthwash is important," says Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD, in an interview with Bustle over email.

8. You Can Damage Your Immune System

Ever wonder why you may be getting sick all the time? It might have to do with the way you brush your teeth. For two weeks, infectious diseases doctor Christoffer Van Tulleken wore a guard on the ride side of his mouth to prevent it from getting cleaned. "Tests conducted with Professor Iain Chapple, at the University of Birmingham School of Dentistry, showed that by not brushing my teeth for just two weeks I had damaged my immune system," said, Tulleken in an interview with the Daily Mail.

9. It Can Cause A Brain Abscess

If you have an infection in your mouth, you need to see the dentist immediately. If not, you could actually be doing damage to your brain. According to The New York Times, a brain abscess (pocket of infection in the brain due to bacteria) can be caused by tooth abscesses (which can be caused by not brushing) if not taken care of in time, which can cause swelling in the brain.

Brushing your teeth is a vital part of your daily hygiene. Keep your mouth clean and hopefully you will never have to deal with any of these issues in the near future.

Images: Pixabay