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Don’t Brush Often Enough? Here’s What Happens to Your Teeth

electric toothbrush vs manual toothbrush

You’ve probably heard your dentist say you should brush twice a day for two minutes each time. That’s not just our professional opinion. It’s also what the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends if you want to maintain great dental hygiene — and avoid costly trips to the dentist in the future.

That adds up to just 4 minutes of your life per day. Sounds pretty easy right? And yet a surprising number of people fail to meet this simple benchmark. They mean to do it, but somehow brushing falls off their list. It’s only when they do get bad news from their dentist do they start to rethink their approach.

So what happens exactly if you only brush your teeth once per day (or even less)? Here’s why you should be concerned — why it’s best to prioritize teeth brushing and follow through on your goals.

Your Breath is Going to Stink

Brushing your teeth, as well as flossing regularly and using mouthwash, keeps bad breath at bay. It’s the easiest thing you can do to ward off halitosis. Your mouth is an incubator for bacteria. It builds up in your mouth throughout the day and when you sleep. If you’re only scraping away that bacteria once every 24 hours (or less), your breath might stink to high heaven.

Gum Disease Will Come Knocking

If you don’t brush your teeth regularly, say hi to gum disease. It’s probably coming to visit. Brushing only one time per day increases your risk of periodontal disease — and this can even lead to tooth loss. If you go to bed without brushing, everything you ate is actually providing a second meal to bacteria in your mouth that cause cavities and gum disease. Take it from your dentist — that bacteria will feast on these sugars all night long, wrecking all kinds of havoc.

Welcome to Cavity Town

Like gum disease, cavities are the inevitable result of not brushing enough. This is especially true if you only brush in the morning. All the food you eat all day will stick to your teeth and provide a tremendous feast for the bacteria in your mouth. That bacteria will excrete acid that causes tooth decay, AKA cavity town.

You’ll Buy Your Dentist a Boat

Hey, cavities will happen. But if you don’t brush often enough, inevitably you’ll have one of those dental appointments that is an absolute disaster. You may find yourself having to fill several cavities, maybe need a root canal or two, perhaps even a crown. You might even face tooth loss and need a dental implant crown. Not brushing means higher dental bills because of the increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease. And the longer you put it off, the more it will cost. In the end, you’ll probably buy the dentist a boat or put their kids through college.

How to Brush More Often

Be good to yourself. Take care of your teeth. Brush twice per day for two minutes each time.

As your dentist, we know this is easier said than done. We know you mean to brush, but it just doesn’t happen. You’re too tired one night to brush, so you just go to bed. And then that one night becomes several, and soon an entire week’s gone by, and you’ve hardly brushed.

Brush your teeth before you settle down on the couch for the evening. This way, the brushing will be out of the way when you do get tired. Set a timer to brush for two minutes. Keep a brushing journal and record how often you brush. Set encouraging reminders. You’ve got this!

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