So You Didn’t Brush Your Teeth?

The average Californian’s life follows the same basic pattern: food, work, sleep, repeat. There might be a variation or two — perhaps a little recreation added. Hopefully, one other regular element is your routine of oral care, including brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day, flossing and using mouthwash as needed. But with the hustle and bustle of today’s lifestyles, we might miss an oral care session or two, or fall out of the habit altogether. So, the question arises: what happens if you neglect your daily oral care routine?

If You Stop the Brushing Routine

Tooth brushing and using floss reduces the destructive agents that build up in a person’s mouth. At any given time, there are hundreds of types of bacteria in our mouths, trying to gain a foothold and multiply. Some of those bacteria generate plaque, a pasty substance that builds up on teeth. That plaque acts as a breeding ground for more bacteria.

After a meal, bacteria consume any food particles stuck between teeth, using it to grow in number. As they grow, bacteria damage tooth enamel with their excretions, creating lesions and weak points that lead to dental caries, or cavities. As the bacteria multiply, they spread along the teeth and then under the gumline, were they find a protected shelter to continue growing and indirectly damaging our teeth.

As these bacteria do their dirty work, the plaque they create calcifies and becomes tartar, which irritates the gum tissue. Eventually, instead of pearly white teeth with healthy pink gum tissue, a person develops yellowed teeth, red gums that often bleed, and terrible breath. Eventually, the situation degenerates and leads to tooth decay, even tooth and bone loss. These bacteria can also cause infections that are linked to pneumonia, diabetes, heart attacks, and challenges during pregnancy.

If You Forget to Brush

It’s possible that you might be running late one morning, and the stress of the situation makes you forget to brush your teeth. That’s understandable, especially in busy Yuba City. Does that mean all is lost? Not if you take action. Many people keep a dental “essentials kit” in their vehicles, office desks, or backpacks. Once they have the earliest chance, they break out that kit and use the travel toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. They take five minutes to perform their oral care routine in a bathroom or available sink and enjoy the peace of mind that their mouths are fresh and clean.

If you don’t have an essentials kit available, brush your teeth at your earliest convenience. Gum, a quick water rinse, or mints are no substitute for brushing and flossing your teeth (although they may be a stopgap). Neglecting your daily routine eventually leads to knocking it down the priority list, and that usually results in forsaking the practice altogether. At that point, the bacteria have every opportunity to feast on food particles, taking over your teeth and gums.

Another great way to remind you is to keep your semiannual checkups at the Yuba City Dentistry Group. Think of us as your coaching staff. We look at your oral health status and work with you to maintain your it. If your routine in oral care is not as strong as it used to be, we’re happy to coach you in making improvements. We also help by removing any plaque and tartar buildups with dental cleaning.

Forgetting to brush once in a while will not endanger your oral health, as long as you take action to amend the situation. Do not let failing to brush become a habit! Instead, maintain the habit of brushing for two minutes, twice a day, supplemented by flossing and mouthwash as needed. If you have any questions or would like to know how your oral health currently fares, give our office a call or schedule an appointment online.


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Kyle Dundas

Dr. Cheema was great and so was the staff. Definitely made it easy and a lot less stressful on me. His main concern was my well being and pain. Best experience I've had with a dentist.