We’re told from a young age that brushing our teeth is important, but just how important is it? As a family dentist in the 85041 area code, we’ve seen the devastating effects of poor oral hygiene firsthand. Before you put off your annual cleaning again, find out what happens when oral hygiene goes ignored.

What Would Happen if You Stopped Brushing Your Teeth for Good?

Well, aside from obviously bad breath and a really strange mouth feeling, you could also expect:

1. Yellowing, Sensitive Teeth

As soon as you stop brushing your teeth, your mouth bacteria start to run amok. Feeding off of sugars in the foods you eat, the plaque bacteria proliferate and produce waste products that are toxic to our tissues.

Plaque builds up against your gum line and harden into tartar. Stains from common foods like chocolate and coffee build up, and acids start to eat away your enamel. The plaque buildup starts to irritate your gum line. Your gums start to look swollen, and your teeth may become sensitive to hot, cold, sugary or acidic foods.

2. Gingivitis and Other Health Issues

As you cross the threshold into gum disease, your gums become red, dark and swollen. This early stage of periodontal disease is called gingivitis. You may have persistent bad breath, and your gums become tender and itchy. They frequently bleed after brushing or flossing. In fact, seeing “pink in the sink” is what finally sends many brushing procrastinators to a dentist in the 85041 area.

Eventually, plaque starts to destroy your gum tissue. Your gums start to recede, making your teeth look longer or “taller” than they did before. Chronic gum disease has also been linked to heart disease. Plaque bacteria can travel from your capillary-rich gums throughout your body, and studies suggest the heart could be especially vulnerable.

3. Gum Pockets and Cavities

When your gums can’t recede any further, they begin pulling away from your teeth. This advanced stage of gum disease is called periodontitis. The pockets are an ideal environment for bacteria. Plaque and tartar build up against the base of your teeth, and bacteria start to seep deeper in your gums and jaw.

Meanwhile, plaque is settling into the nooks and crannies of your mouth. Your craggy bite surfaces and the spaces between your teeth are common victims. The bacteria produce waste that eat away at your enamel, making your teeth look yellow and eventually causing cavities.

4. Chronic Infection and Abscesses

Once bacteria is multiplying within your gum line, all structures in your jaw are at risk. Your jaw is in a state of chronic infection, and the infection spreads everywhere it can. Plaque bacteria can attack your teeth, tooth roots, ligaments and even your bone. At the first sign of oral infection, it’s critical to contact a dentist around the 85041 area to preserve the health of your mouth.

Abscesses, excruciating pockets of infection, can form during any stage of gum disease. However, they become more common once you have periodontitis. The bacteria eventually make their way to your tooth’s pulp. Left untreated, the infection will start killing the tooth. Even a mild abscess can require root canal therapy to treat. In advanced cases, it’s possible to lose the tooth.

5. Tooth Loss

With long term, poor oral hygiene, your teeth start to become loose. Cavities kill off tooth pulp, abscesses require teeth to be extracted and deep bacteria attack the structures that keep your teeth anchored directly. Depending on your diet, you may have very little dentin left and have yellow-brown teeth. Your teeth become prone to cracking, and they inevitably start to fall out.

Without their neighbors to hold them in place, your remaining teeth start to become crooked. They rotate and shift sideways. This can lead to issues with bite, TMJ problems and bruxism.

6. Bone Damage

Bone damage occurs in two ways. The first is by direct attack from bacteria. The bone is gradually eaten away. The second is tooth loss. Teeth are critical supports for our jaw bones. They provide structure, and the regular, controlled force of chewing and speech encourage the bone to stay strong. Once the teeth are gone, there’s nothing left to support the bone.

Your jaw begins to look sunken in areas where teeth are missing or infection is severe. Your remaining teeth could start to cave inward or outward as the bone gives out. In this stage, restoring function to the mouth usually requires bone grafts and dentures.

dentist 85041Expert Care from Your Dentist Near 85041

Advanced periodontal disease is easy to avoid. Brushing twice a day, flossing at least once a day and making regular visits to your dentist are all it takes. If you currently have periodontal disease, rapid intervention is crucial for saving teeth and bone.

Whether you need to schedule an annual cleaning or are worried about gum disease, Sky Dental Alliance is ready to help. Call and make your appointment today.