What Would Happen if You Didn’t Brush for a Year?
Traditionally, the new year comes with resolutions designed to help make the coming 12 months a little bit better. But what if you made the decision not to brush or floss your teeth at all during 2021? What if you decided to not see a Clackamas family dentist no matter how bad your oral health became?
Our teeth rank as some of the strongest and most resilient parts of the body. Yet, neglecting oral care at home and actively avoiding your Clackamas family dentist, even for just one year, can seriously test that strength and resiliency. Let’s take a look at what would happen if you were to decide that 2021 would be the Year Without Brushing.
The new year begins with throwing out your old toothbrush and waving goodbye to that packet of floss that occupies the bottom shelf of your medicine cabinet. You won’t notice any immediate effect by skipping one day of brushing, but you may find yourself missing that minty, fresh taste the mouth gets after removing a day’s worth of debris.
You’ve gone three days without brushing or flossing. Congrats, we guess. By now you may have started to notice that your teeth feel a little gritty, and that it’s not uncommon for something you had for lunch the day before to remain stuck in your teeth.
After a week of not brushing, you may start to notice that your breath smells less than its best. While an unwanted side effect of your decision not to brush, it’s one that you should begin to embrace. Without the benefit of brushing and flossing, all of the food particles that linger in the mouth after eating now have the time to begin actively decaying in your mouth. As anyone who’s ever walked past a dumpster during summer can attest, decaying foods gives off a very unpleasant aroma.
To combat your funky fresh breath, you decide to buy a year’s worth of breath mints. Good luck with that.
A full 14 days have passed since last you decided to brush. Your teeth feel constantly gritty, you have developed a serious case of near permanent dragon breath, and even the foods and drinks you consume now taste a little different. While unwanted and unpleasant, these side effects are largely cosmetic when considering what’s going on behind the scenes.
Plaque, a sticky biofilm full of food particles and harmful oral bacteria, production has kicked into overdrive like Santa’s workshop a week before Christmas. Brushing generally works to remove plaque deposits from the surface of your teeth, but without that pesky habit in the way, plaque can begin the process of changing your oral microbiome.
The average mouth contains millions of different strands of bacteria. But since you’ve not brushed in a fortnight, the bacteria in your mouth numbers in the billions. Maintaining a healthy mouth requires striking the right balance between healthy bacteria and bad bacteria. With such a significant buildup of plaque on your teeth and along the gum line, the delicate balance now swings in the wrong direction.
Unfortunately, an oral microbiome out of balance creates the perfect environment for plaque to grow even more quickly. You can now expect more permanent damage to start to occur.
Congrats, you now have gum disease. Early stage gum disease, commonly referred to as gingivitis, causes gum tissue to become red, swollen, and to bleed easily, especially after brushing (but you won’t need to worry about that). You may notice your gums bleeding after eating certain foods, like an apple. You’ve now started down the road toward permanently damaging your oral health.
After three months, plaque continues to assault your tooth enamel and may have created a few cavities. Since you now consume a handful of sugary mints every day to cover your foul smelling breath, plaque has used that sugar to cause permanent damage to your enamel.
When allowed to sit on the surface of your teeth, plaque uses the foods you consume as fuel to produce acids that erode away at tooth enamel. With such an unhealthy buildup of plaque in the mouth, your teeth suddenly have a lot in common with a penny dropped into a jar of battery acid.
A half a year in and your oral health is most certainly a mess. You’ve likely developed at least one or more cavities. Your gum disease has progressed, and you may start to experience pangs of discomfort whenever eating or drinking hot or cold items.
The plaque that has built up on the surface of your teeth has now hardened into tartar, a yellowish substance that discolors tooth enamel and that can only be removed when visiting your Clackamas family dentist.
Pockets may have started to develop around the base of your teeth as gum tissue begins to pull away, exposing the delicate roots and nerves of your teeth.
Depending on how quickly your gum disease has progressed, you may have graduated from gingivitis to periodontitis. A far more serious form of gum disease, periodontitis works to destroy the underlying tissue and bone structure that holds your teeth into position. Unlike gingivitis, the damage caused by periodontitis is often irreversible.
Don’t Forget Your Clackamas Family Denitst
In just six months of not brushing, your oral health has gone from good to near the brink of collapse.
While most people would not willingly stop brushing for half a year, we hope this illustrates the important role brushing plays in protecting your oral health. So when the time comes to make your New Year’s resolutions, we’re hoping you choose to brush more, not less.