The simple truth is your teeth aren’t fine if you never brush them. They may seem fine at the beginning stages, but it’s only a matter of time until tooth decay progresses to a stage where it will be painfully noticeable. It may last about a week until your dental hygiene starts to deteriorate rapidly, gradually leading to tooth loss. This is a slow but sure process that develops with the time you go without brushing. Apart from infections, gum diseases, and tooth decay, you might also face medical conditions like pneumonia and heart disease in the long run. If you want to avoid all of this and don’t have the time to brush twice daily, you can include other alternatives like flossing and oil pulling in your dental routine.
Will your teeth be fine if you never brush? How long can you last without brushing your teeth? What happens if you don’t brush your teeth? Are there other health complications that can be triggered by not brushing? What are the best alternatives for brushing?
Let’s be realistic. You come home late at night, and you’re tired. Skipping your brushing routine seems to be the easiest way to get to bed soon, right?
Sure, skipping the brushing once in a while wouldn’t kill you. But if it becomes a habit, and you neglect it every day, you might be looking at a whole spectrum of problems, ranging from bad dental hygiene to severe medical conditions.
You might feel like your teeth are fine even though you don’t brush, probably because your tooth decay hasn’t yet progressed to the painful stage of pulp cavity erosion.
Make sure you don’t wait long enough to experience what that feels like!
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Will your teeth be fine if you never brush?
It’s unsettling to think that you’re completely fine ignoring oral hygiene for God knows how long, and here’s why!
Did you know that your mouth is home to over 700 different strains of bacteria?
While most of these organisms living in our teeth are harmless, several, like streptococcus mutans and porphyromanas gingiyalis, can affect your health.
When you neglect your teeth, plaque gradually builds up on your teeth and hardens over time. As a result, your mouth turns into a playground for bacteria to thrive in.
They jump into action by feeding on the starch and sugar trapped in your teeth and producing acid that erodes your enamel. You’ll face tooth decay, gum diseases, and various infections in no time.
Thinking that you’ll be fine without brushing your teeth is a dangerous game and will cause serious health problems in the long run.
How long can you last without brushing your teeth?
Brushing twice a day is the usual standard.
If you’re always packed with a busy schedule, you might also limit it to once a day. However, as soon as you go several days without brushing, the process of plaque build-up will have already started, and by one week, your enamel will start to break down.
You could say that you might last a week without brushing, but it still better not be a risk you’re willing to take.
Oral hygiene is essential as we all are social beings, and I’m sure you don’t want everyone to notice your bad breath and dirty teeth daily.
Even if you could last a week, you’d still be facing a higher risk of developing cavities that could lead to teeth loss, tooth erosion, and not to forget the severe pain that comes with tooth decay.
What happens if you don’t brush your teeth?
The process of teeth erosion over time without brushing your teeth is inevitable.
This ultimate decline in your oral and overall health is clearly shown in the table below:
|The time span of not brushing teeth||What happens to your teeth|
|1 day without brushing||If you touch your teeth, you will notice a thin layer covering each enamel of your teeth. This is what’s known as plaque.|
|2 days without brushing||The longer we leave the plaque on our teeth, the more difficult it gets to remove. Within 48 hours, this layer of plaque will get thicker, and you’ll notice your bad breath as well by now.|
|1 week without brushing||At this stage, your enamel starts to break down as your collected thick layer of plaque starts to hurt your gums. You may even notice a metallic taste in your mouth, which actually is tiny amounts of blood seeping out of your gums. Your breath would be foul at this point.|
|1 month without brushing||You would’ve reached the point of no return by now, with a high level of oral decay. Not brushing for this long would also lead to severe diseases such as periodontitis. In addition, tooth decay would have advanced to the pulp cavity by now, causing infections and forming pus at the bottom of your teeth, known as abscesses. This can be severely painful, with the pain radiating to your jaws as well.|
|1 year without brushing||When tooth decay is aggravated, ultimate tooth loss is also to be expected. Various dental health complications will be aroused by now, ranging from infections and high blood pressure to severe medical conditions like Pneumonia.|
What are the health complications that can happen?
Most of us already know the obvious results of not brushing our teeth, like tooth decay, gum diseases, tooth loss, and bad breath.
But you might not know the other health problems associated with not brushing your teeth.
Your dental hygiene undeniably makes an impact on your overall health, and here’s how:
- Diabetes – When you don’t brush your teeth, it increases the risk for insulin resistance and diabetes since poor dental health increases inflammation. So, people with diabetes are naturally more likely to have gum diseases.
- Dementia – According to a research review published in the US National Library of Medicine, dental decay can increase one’s risk of developing dementia. The logic behind this is that the bacteria in your mouth, without being cleaned out, can reach your brain through the cranial nerve that’s connected to your jaw through the bloodstream.
- Pneumonia – A 2020 study by the US National Library of Medicine confirms that poor oral health plays an important role in pneumonia development. This happens with the overgrowth of bacteria in your mouth. Even the simple process of inhaling could end up being risky as these bacteria can be pushed into your lungs with inhalation.
- Heart Disease – The rapidly growing bacteria in our mouth can also enter our bloodstream and attach themselves to plaque in our arteries. In the long run, this can pose a risk of blood clots, blockages, and heart attacks. A 2019 study found that people that brush their teeth thrice a day are less likely to face conditions like atrial fibrillations and heart failure.
Best methods of cleaning teeth without brushing?
Let’s imagine you’re in a position where you don’t have the time to brush your teeth properly or simply don’t want to deal with the hassle of brushing twice a day.
There are other ways to clean your teeth without having to brush all the time, although brushing would be recommended at least once a day.
- Flossing – This is an excellent habit that you can include in your dental routine since it’s an ideal way to remove debris and plaque from the surface of your teeth. Proper flossing techniques can also help remove food particles in corners that your toothbrush can’t easily reach.
- Water – This is the fastest and easiest method that can suit a busy lifestyle. While you can’t entirely replace brushing with water, it can be helpful when you don’t have the option of brushing your teeth. Make sure you take sips and rinse your mouth thoroughly with it. This will help loosen any trapped food particles between your teeth and helps neutralize your mouth’s acidity.
- Oil pulling – This traditional technique involves a teaspoon of coconut oil and mixing it around your mouth. Its chemical compounds lift out toxins from your mouth. The cherry on top of this technique is that it’ll help whiten your teeth and therefore is popular in the beauty industry.
- Paper towel – This is also an easy way to clean your teeth, especially useful when you’ve forgotten your toothbrush. You can simply wrap the paper towel around your finger and use it as a brush.
- Baking soda – Mix some household baking soda with water thoroughly and apply it to your teeth. Be careful not to swallow this concoction, and make sure you rinse your mouth well after the process. This ingredient works wonders. A 2020 study conducted by the US National Library of Medicine showed that brushing with toothpaste containing baking soda at 35% successfully reduces plaque, gingival inflammation, and bleeding more than regular toothpaste.
Can you treat tooth decay?
This would depend on the stage of tooth decay. At its earliest stage, decaying can be reversed by fluoride treatment at your dentist’s office.
At the stage of enamel decay, your only option would be to get a resin, ceramic or dental amalgam filling to treat your cavities.
In more advanced cases, placement of a crown might also be necessary on the advice of your dentist. However, in severe cases, tooth removal may be needed.
2. Should you brush twice a day?
Brushing twice a day is the recommended amount by dentists and experts. However, just once-a-day brushing might also be good enough to keep bacteria and cavities at bay if done correctly.
You can also incorporate flossing into your routine if you don’t have the time to brush twice daily.
3. Does saliva help prevent cavities?
Saliva is a natural protector of our teeth by cleaning and washing away bits of food trapped between our teeth.
It’s also known to contain antimicrobial agents that help fight off harmful bacteria that fuel cavities.
If you’re at any of these stages of tooth decay after neglecting to brush your teeth for a while, consulting a dentist and seeking immediate treatment is essential.
If cavities remain untreated, they get larger, affecting deeper layers of teeth and making recovery more difficult and more expensive the longer you decide to wait.
Proper dental hygiene is interconnected with your overall health and well-being.
Sometimes even if we do regularly brush, we might not be following proper technique, and cavities may yet again happen. This is why regular dental visits are always recommended, despite brushing regularly.
You can also consult your dentist about proper brushing and flossing techniques so that you never have to put your health on hold again.