What Happens When You Don’t Brush and Floss Your Teeth?

Did you know that tooth decay is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases among children and adults? This is because not enough people visit the dentist each year and not enough people know how to properly care for their teeth. Brushing and flossing your teeth are absolutely essential if you want to avoid oral health diseases like tooth decay (cavities) and gum disease. Unfortunately, more than 120 million Americans are already missing one or more teeth due to poor oral hygiene habits. Here are a few reasons why you want to brush and floss your teeth daily and what happens when you don’t!

Why Should You Brush and Floss Your Teeth?

If you had to guess what the most common diseases in the world are, would you guess diseases of your mouth? Most wouldn’t. Tooth decay and gum disease are the most common diseases worldwide. Many people simply don’t know why it’s important to brush or floss the teeth, how to do these habits properly, or they don’t have access to toothbrushes, disease-fighting toothpastes, dental care or surgical care for progressed oral diseases.

Brushing and flossing are the most important oral hygiene habits you can have if you want to avoid chronic oral health conditions like tooth decay and gum disease. In fact, if more people did these, oral health problems could almost be eliminated entirely. 92% of people in the U.S. have had one or more cavities by the time they reach adulthood. 120 million Americans have lost at least 1 tooth to decay and 35 million are toothless. That’s just in the United States!

Tooth decay (cavities) is actually one of the most chronic, prevalent diseases according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s because you can avoid cavities and it’s sister disease (gum disease) if you brush and floss every single day. Skipping these habits will lead to that decay from sugar, cratering the teeth until they start to fall out from weakened gum tissue.

What Can Happen to Your Gums?

Your bones are made of porous minerals packed together, while the teeth are made up of about 96% mineral content. Sugar, acids and bacteria can be so strong that they decay that hard-packed mineral of your teeth, most of which is not even living tissue. The gums that hold your teeth in place, however, are living tissues, and they can become irritated very quickly by acidic bacteria, acidic drinks and foods and gunk left on your teeth.

When you eat, sugars in your food will mix with various mouth bacteria to create a sticky, acidic film called plaque. That plaque sticks to the teeth along your gum line. You must physically brush the plaque away or the acids in it will break up the minerals of your teeth, decaying them. Acids create holes in the teeth where more bacteria and acids get in, cavities grow larger and the teeth continue to decay.

For your gums, the acidity of plaque irritates the soft red tissue. Your gums will get puffy, red and irritated. They will start to turn darker red from inflammation and over time, will start to pull back from acidic plaque to get away from the irritation. The more the gums pull back, the looser the teeth get until they begin to fall. This is gum disease and it can be tricky to reverse if you don’t brush and floss your teeth regularly.

Brushing Correctly

How often do you brush your teeth? A Yahoo survey found that when it came to millennials, only about 3 in 10 were brushing their teeth each day. Yikes! That is less than the American Dental Association’s recommendation of at least twice a day for 2 minutes at a time. When brushing, follow these other guidelines:

  • Use ADA-approved fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Brush every tooth surface, front to back, top to bottom, and in circular motions to dislodge food particles.
  • Use rice-sized amounts of toothpaste for an infant, pea size for a toddler, bean-sized for a child, and just a bit more for teens and adults.
  • Brush your tongue each time to remove food particles and bacteria that cause bad breath and dental decay.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3 months, or when the bristles become frayed.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush so it’s not too harsh on your teeth or gums.

Flossing the Proper Way

Flossing gets about 40% of your tooth surfaces that brushing can miss. Experts recommend flossing 1-2 times a day with about 18 inches of new floss each time. Don’t reuse floss, as it can introduce old bacteria into the mouth. Not all patients realize that they have to go up into the gum line when flossing. You should floss both sides of that triangular gum part between all your teeth. You will be able to go up under this triangular gum part until the floss naturally stops where your gums meet your teeth.

Gently scrape your teeth as you floss to remove plaque. If your gums bleed every time you floss, make sure you’re not being too aggressive. If you’re new to flossing, that bleeding is a sign that gum disease is already setting in, but you can reverse it if you start to brush and floss now.

Visiting the Dentist

Don’t want all these oral health issues? Brush and floss your teeth every single day! Visit your dentist at least twice a year for dental cleanings and comprehensive exams. We can show you the proper way to brush and floss. For all the tips you want to know for your oral health, call Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies a call at (970) 223-8425!