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Published: November 22, 2021

What Happens When You Don't Brush Your Teeth?

You may believe that skipping a tooth brushing now and again won't harm you.

You shouldn't have any severe dental health issues if you forget to push your teeth every now and again. It's best not to make it a habit, though. Brushing and flossing twice a day isn't just advice; it helps to reduce plaque buildup and tooth decay.

Beyond toothaches or cavities, poor dental health can contribute to a range of health problems.

Dental Health Problems

Plaque does not form if your teeth are properly cared for. Plaque causes a number of dental disorders and is nearly undetectable to the untrained eye in its early stages.


Plaque has bacteria that cause cavities and can pierce your tooth's protective enamel.

Cavities can lead to dental infections and, in the worst-case scenario, tooth loss if left untreated. What's the good news? Cavities can be avoided by brushing and flossing regularly.


Plaque can cause gingivitis, a type of gum disease, by damaging the gums. Microorganisms found in plaque irritate and inflame your gums. Gums would become slightly darker, more sensitive, and more prone to bleeding. Gingivitis can cause gum recession, which can result in tooth loss.


Periodontitis is preceded by gingivitis, just as cavities are preceded by plaque. This is a severe bone infection that affects the bones that support the teeth. Periodontitis is one of the most common causes of tooth loss.

How Long Does Plaque Take to Build?

Dental health has a genetic component. It can be aggravating to watch a friend who barely brushes get away with no cavities while you brush often and have weaker enamel.

While heredity has a role in tooth health, brushing is essential for everyone. Brushing and flossing, without a doubt, help to reduce plaque build-up, which in turn helps to prevent other dental problems.

Here's what happens if you ignore appropriate hygiene for various periods of time:

One day without brushing:

Plaque begins as a sticky substance that may be easily removed with a good brushing practice; however, the longer we keep it on our teeth, the more difficult it becomes to remove. Plaque on your teeth begins to eat away at your dentin within 48 hours. When plaque hardens, it becomes tartar, which must be scraped out by a professional.

One week without brushing:

Your tooth enamel will continue to deteriorate after one week. The plaque that has not been removed will provide a conducive environment for bad breath to flourish. Your teeth will feel sticky and not as smooth as they would if they were clean.

You will have a higher possibility of developing cavities if you do not clean your teeth for one week. There's also a potential that plaque will irritate your gums, resulting in pain and suffering.

Continued poor brushing habits:

If you continue to clean your teeth seldom or clumsily, you will most likely have major dental problems within a year. You'll have to deal with tooth decay, gingivitis, and tartar buildup, among other things.

Poor oral hygiene might also contribute to other health problems, such as infection or high blood pressure.

Proper Oral Hygiene

Various people have different notions about what constitutes good oral hygiene. The ADA's suggestions are a wonderful place to start. The American Dental Association has some tips on how to care for your teeth effectively on a regular basis:


To avoid cavities, brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride-containing toothpaste. Brush for at least 2 minutes to ensure that as much plaque as possible is removed.

Make sure you don't use too much pressure when brushing your teeth, as this can hurt your gums.


Flossing is recommended at least once a day. If flossing isn't your thing, consider water flossing as an alternative. Flossing is a difficult habit to develop, but it makes a significant difference in your oral health.

Make an appointment with your dentist

Schedule a visit with your dentist. The conventional rule is that you should see your dentist every six months.

Some dentists may suggest that you go to the dentist more frequently. This is especially true if you've had cavities before, have gum disease, or are at risk of getting gum disease.

Make Use of Appropriate Equipment

Using an electric toothbrush instead of a manual toothbrush can significantly improve your oral hygiene. With their scheduled settings, electric toothbrushes encourage the optimum length of brushing and are more successful in removing plaque.

If you don't want to invest in an electric toothbrush, make sure you brush in circular motions with a soft bristle brush.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

Having a well-balanced diet is important. Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as limiting high-sugar foods, can help to prevent tooth decay.

Dental Cleanings & Checkups

Don't worry if you forget to clean your teeth every now and again.

However, it's important to remember that brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing once a day, and seeing your dentist at least twice a year are all important for your oral health.

Your teeth will be healthy if you have regular dental checkups. Cavities and gum disease are easier to cure and have a healthy mouth if caught early. If found early enough, some cavities don't even require fillings!

Plaque and tartar can be removed by dental cleanings. If you want to make cosmetic improvements, professional teeth whitening is always a possibility.

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