Ever skip brushing your teeth? Would you run for the toothpaste if you knew your mouth contains hundreds of bacteria, which means there could be billions of microbes attacking your teeth, according to the UIC College of Dentistry? No matter the reason, we’re all guilty of forgetting to brush our teeth at some point.

Maybe you skated through your last dental appointment with no cavities, even though you were a bit lax on brushing between visits. Before you continue this habit you should learn about exactly what goes on when you skip brushing your teeth, even one time. After all, the human mouth contains over 300 types of bacteria!

Why We Should Brush Our Teeth Regularly

Anytime we eat or drink something, it leaves behind sugars and acids that break down the enamel on our teeth. To combat this assault, the American Dental Association recommends kids and adults alike brush their teeth two times a day, typically in the morning and before bed at night.

What about our predecessors that didn’t have toothbrushes or advice from the ADA? How did they manage to take care of their teeth?

Before the bristled toothbrush made its debut in the 1930s, ancient peoples used various tooth cleaning tools for ages. Archeological evidence indicates ancient civilizations, as far back as 3000 BC, practiced sound oral hygiene by chewing on sticks with rough edges to remove any food remnants and to help produce saliva, which helps protect teeth against decay.

The rewards of brushing your teeth regularly are well-established, it can prevent bad breath, plaque buildup, tooth decay, and gum disease. Routine brushing can help remove stains and whiten your teeth, particularly when you use oral care products that contain natural tooth whitening minerals, can further remove stains and whiten your teeth

When done correctly, brushing your teeth removes damaging bacteria, acids, and stains. Brushing with remineralizing toothpaste can protect your teeth from the demineralization of tooth enamel.

Wondering what happens if you skip tooth brushing on occasion?

Here’s What Happens When You Don’t Brush Your Teeth

Remember the hundreds of bacteria living in your mouth? That equates to potentially billions of microbes ready for you to skip a brushing so they can get busy destroying your teeth. Failure to brush your teeth ensures acids and sugars form plaque that coat your teeth and break down the enamel, which can cause cavities, gum disease (gingivitis) and bone infection (periodontitis) and eventually leading to tooth loss.

Granted, you won’t wake up one morning after having failed to brush your teeth the night before with a cavity. However, your neglect to brush did permit plaque-building bacteria to sit on your teeth several more hours than it should have.

Here’s what takes place when you don’t brush your teeth, according to Healthline:

  • Two days: Within two days, plaque begins to demineralize your teeth.
  • One week: As the layers of your teeth continue to decompose due to plaque buildup, you will suffer from acute bad breath (halitosis).
  • One year: Long periods of not brushing your teeth can result in cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss.

What If I Only Skip Brushing My Teeth Once in a While?

Let’s just say it’s not okay to skip brushing your teeth, ever. A discussion with your dentist or a bit more research on what can happen when you don’t brush may convince you to add floss and mouthwash to your oral care routine.

Daily flossing can help remove food left behind in between your teeth. Rinsing with a remineralizing mouthwash, followed by a 30 second swish of water within 30 minutes of eating can remove harmful bacteria.

Remember habits are easy to start and hard to break. Skip brushing your teeth once, and the next thing you know your dentist is lecturing you about the handful of cavities in your mouth.

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