Your teeth are the first thing people see when you smile or talk to them. They also help you communicate and chew the food you eat so your body can digest it more easily. As important as they are, it’s surprisingly easy to forget about your teeth, especially when you’re in a rush to get to work or go to bed.
The problem is that it doesn’t take very long for plaque and “bad” germs to build up on your teeth and start causing problems. If you’re like me and you want to keep your teeth healthy and attractive as long as possible, it’s important to recognize why daily oral care is important. Here’s what happens (both in the short-term and long-term) when you forget to brush your teeth.
Cavities are permanently damaged portions of your teeth that continue to lead to tooth decay if you don’t address them quickly. Cavities are the result of bacteria in your mouth that form plaque and start to eat away at the teeth. It is important to have a dentist remove cavities quickly so they don’t make their way to the inner portion of your teeth.
Cavity-causing bacteria may be present in your mouth already or they may come from eating too many sugary snacks and drinks. Failing to brush and floss your teeth regularly can give harmful bacteria the chance to do more damage and cause more cavities.
If you forget to brush your teeth, plaque can do more than contribute to cavity development. It can also harm the gums and eventually lead to a form of gum disease called gingivitis. This is a condition that causes the gums to become swollen, sensitive and inflamed. Swollen gums are also more likely to bleed when you eat or brush and floss your teeth.
Most adults can expect to experience gingivitis at some point. It’s pretty rare to get through all of your adult life without dealing with some degree of gum inflammation and irritation. The good news is that promptly treating your gingivitis and adopting a healthy oral hygiene routine (that includes regular brushing) can help you restore your gum health.
If you don’t begin brushing your teeth regularly and seek other dental treatments as needed for gingivitis, your oral health could become much worse. Gingivitis can eventually become periodontitis if it is not promptly treated. Trust me when I say that periodontitis is not something you want to experience!
In addition to causing significant discomfort and embarrassment (due to the swollen gum tissue and bad breath it causes), periodontitis can also lead to bone loss and eventual tooth loss. Treatment for periodontitis usually involves a thorough and deep cleaning to remove the bacteria that have accumulated on your gums and beneath your gumline. You may also require surgery if your periodontitis is severe.
The good news is that brushing your teeth regularly can help you avoid developing cavities, gingivitis and periodontitis. So make sure you don’t skip a day!
Tips for Reminding Yourself To Brush Regularly
If you frequently forget to brush your teeth, there are some things you can do to remind yourself about this important part of your oral hygiene routine. Try the following:
Set a reminder on your phone to brush your teeth before bedtime and when you wake up in the morning.
Put your toothbrush and toothpaste on the bathroom counter where you will see them every time you go to the bathroom.
Give yourself a prize (such as a nice dinner out or a new pair of shoes) if you brush your teeth twice daily for a full month.
Once brushing your teeth regularly becomes a habit, it won’t be so hard to remember to do it. Try the tips above and make regular brushing a habit for the sake of your oral health.