OCT 27, 2017 02:47 PM PDT

What If You Never Brushed Your Teeth?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

We've likely all experienced a lapse in our dental routine at one time or another. It's especially easy to fall asleep after a long night without brushing and flossing our teeth. While dentists can forgive these occasional occurrences, forgoing basic teeth hygiene for months or even years will surely garner some serious scolding from all health professionals.

"Taking care of your teeth and gums isn't just about preventing cavities or bad breath," the American Dental Association (ADA) warns. "The mouth is a gateway into your body's overall health."

Indeed, if brushing is neglected, the bacteria in the mouth can infiltrate the gum line and into the blood system. This puts people at risk for a host of conditions, including cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss. Beyond the mouth, the oral bacteria can make infections in other organs more likely, putting people at risk for pneumonia, kidney disease, and ulcers. Some studies have also linked bad oral health to dementia, brain abscess, diabetes, and even cancer.

So if you ever thought proper teeth maintenance was cosmetics, think again. The ADA recommends brushing at least twice a day, and flossing at least once a day. Furthermore, they recommend getting a new toothbrush every season to make cleaning more effective.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
NOV 13, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 13, 2018
Viscoelasticity and Non-Newtonian Fluids
One of these is not like the others: honey, water, ketchup, and blood. The answer? Water, because the other three are all non-Newtonian fluid. When Isaac N...
NOV 20, 2018
Videos
NOV 20, 2018
Legal marijuana sales begin today in MA
Massachusetts opened its first dispensaries for legal recreational marijuana sales today. The companies, one called Cultivate Holdings in Leicester and ano...
NOV 23, 2018
Videos
NOV 23, 2018
Authorities Enlist DNA Experts to ID Camp Fire Victims
Paradise, California, a town of 26,682 residents, was destroyed by the Camp Fire earlier this month....
NOV 29, 2018
Videos
NOV 29, 2018
Screening IVF Embryos for Low IQ
A new test purports to be able to identify embryos with a high chance of having a low IQ....
DEC 09, 2018
Videos
DEC 09, 2018
Retina Organoids Help Researchers Learn More About Color Vision
Researchers are growing mini-retinas to learn more about color vision, and why it's dysfunctional in some people....
DEC 15, 2018
Videos
DEC 15, 2018
Why Does Your Nose Burn From Eating Wasabi?
Many of us might have thought we had wasabi; the green condiment that comes in packaged Sushi. But, more than often that is actually not wasabi—it&rs...
Loading Comments...