By now, patients of Eugene family dentist Dr. Rita Feldmanis know about the importance of brushing and flossing on a daily basis. But what happens if you don’t take proper care of your oral health?
Studies conducted by the American Dental Association have found that over 30 percent of Americans fail to adequately brush, and that 23 percent of adults have gone at least two days without brushing at some point in the last year.
So what actually happens to your teeth when you don’t brush for:
By the time 24 hours passes, a thin layer of plaque – a sticky bacteria that thrives in our mouths – begins to form over your teeth. While no real damage is done in just one day, the effect plaque can have on your teeth takes very little time to get started. At the very least, by day number two you’ll start to have some pretty funky-smelling breath.
After about a week of not brushing, the amount of plaque that accumulates on the surface of your teeth becomes much thicker, and probably carries a foul odor. It’s also between three days to one week that early signs of gingivitis – a mild form of gum disease – begin to manifest. This could cause your gums to bleed and inflammation to occur.
After a full month of not brushing, the bacteria in plaque begins the process of breaking down your teeth’s enamel. Not only will your gums become sore and bleed, white spots will begin to appear on the surface of your teeth. While white spots can develop for a number of reasons that range from genetics to nutrition, in this case the cause is due to enamel decalcification – the first noticeable sign of deterioration of your teeth.
If you go a whole year without brushing, your saliva actually begins to contribute to additional tooth decay. Cavities will have started to develop in the surface of your teeth, and your gums will become extremely irritated and inflamed. While gum recession will probably not have started to occur, the long-term health of your gums is in serious jeopardy.
The extent of the damage caused by not brushing differs with your age. Younger patients have a better chance of recovery if they don’t brush regularly, but older patients don’t have that luxury. If a patient over the age of 50 failed to brush for a year, for example, his or her teeth would quickly begin to decay and become loose.
Age also plays an important role in determining the long-term effects of not brushing. Younger patients under the age of 30 may suffer from gum disease and severe tooth decay from not brushing for five years, but could potentially repair their oral health by improving their daily oral hygiene and by visiting a Eugene family dentist like Dr. Feldmanis.
However, patients over the age of 50 who avoided brushing for so long would suffer permanent consequences. Not only would they suffer from severe gum disease – a condition known as periodontitis – they would also suffer from tooth loss, bone loss and gum recession. Their oral health would be permanently compromised and require the use of dental appliances like bridges, implants and dentures to repair.
Now that you know what happens when you don’t brush, make sure you take the time and make the effort to improve your oral health now and in the future.