While taking care of your teeth through brushing and flossing should be a given, it is shocking how many American’s don’t do the things necessary to ensure optimal oral hygiene.
FACT: Half of American’s don’t floss daily, and one in five don’t brush their teeth twice a day!
Obviously, not taking proper care of your teeth is a bad idea. But aside from the build-up of plaque and bad breath, what else can you expect when you stop taking care of your teeth properly?
Your Enamel Will Start to Break Down
When you don’t brush your teeth, you allow plaque to sit in your mouth, harden, and become tartar. This process contributes to the decay or erosion of your enamel by bacteria.
Once the enamel is gone, it’s gone forever. As a result, the decay will have to be removed and the tooth restored. However, if left untreated, decay eventually will expose the dentin of your tooth.
Unlike enamel, dentin is much softer and therefore it’s easier for decay to develop. The dentin is also very close to the pulp or nerve of the tooth.
So, if the dentin is jeopardized and the pulp/nerve is exposed, one’s tooth may require more intensive and often more costly dental procedures in order to save it.
You Become More Prone to Gum Disease
Too busy to properly take care of your teeth? Then there is a good chance you will develop gingivitis which can lead to a serious gum disease called periodontitis.
Gingivitis is the earliest step of gum disease. If your gums bleed when you floss, this is a sign that you have already developed mild gingivitis, which in fact, more than half of all American’s have.
Gum disease occurs when plaque attacks the gums. As gum disease progresses, the gums begin to pull back from the tooth creating “pockets” between the gum and the tooth.
These pockets can trap and breed bacteria causing further gum erosion and eventually lead to loss of bone that surrounds the teeth. People who have this situation have what’s known as periodontitis.
If you have started to develop gum disease, see your dentist immediately. There are certain procedures a dentist or licensed hygienist can perform to clean out and eradicate the bacteria in the pockets. This procedure helps the gums become healthy again and further support the teeth.
Being sure to brush and floss at least twice a day, while using a prescription mouthwash can be a great way to help reverse the disease. However, once you have it, you need to see your dentist to fully defeat periodontitis.
Tooth Infections Can Develop
Another side effect of poor dental hygiene, are infections which form inside cavities or cracks in the teeth. When cavities are left uncared for, it allows bacteria to get inside a tooth’s pulp where the nerves are located.
Once this occurs, and the tooth’s nerve is infected, it is referred to as an “abscessed” tooth. An abscess can be very painful and cause swelling, chewing discomfort, and much more!
Upon your dentist’s detection of an abscessed tooth, you may be prescribed an antibiotic and he/she will likely recommend a procedure called root canal therapy if the tooth is still restorable. Root canal therapy is necessary to properly clean out the tooth of infection.
After root canal therapy, your dentist will likely recommend a crown to properly restore the tooth’s form and function.
These are the three most common issues that occur when your teeth are not taken care of properly. However, the good news is, all this can be avoided.
Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing, and using mouthwash all help to keep these issues at bay. Also, be sure to also visit your dentist twice a year to ensure that your teeth and gums remain healthy.
Don’t have a regular dentist? If you’re in the Plainfield, Mooresville, Danville, or Martinsville area, give us a call to schedule your appointment. We are dedicated to providing exceptional dental services and will make sure your needs are met in a caring and compassionate way. We are also members of the American Dental Association and Better Business Bureau.