OCT 27, 2017 2:47 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, whether that be electric or manual, 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
MAY 19, 2020
Space & Astronomy
The Science Behind Eclipses
MAY 19, 2020
The Science Behind Eclipses
A particularly convenient coincidence exists between the relative sizes of the Sun and the Moon, and their distance from ...
MAY 24, 2020
Plants & Animals
The Pistol Shrimp's Secret Weapon...
MAY 24, 2020
The Pistol Shrimp's Secret Weapon...
Pistol shrimp have a unique reputation as one of the ocean’s most intriguing crustaceans. Most are only about the ...
JUN 05, 2020
Plants & Animals
World Environment Day 2020 Celebrates Biodiversity
JUN 05, 2020
World Environment Day 2020 Celebrates Biodiversity
Today is World Environment Day, and this year’s theme is biodiversity. As defined by the United Nations (UN), biod ...
JUN 26, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Bacterial Virus May Treat and Prevent COVID-19 Infections
JUN 26, 2020
Bacterial Virus May Treat and Prevent COVID-19 Infections
Researchers say that a type of virus known to infect bacteria could be used to treat and prevent COVID-19 bacterial infe ...
JUL 02, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Carbon Nanolattices: Lighter Than (Atomic) Feathers, Tougher Than Diamonds
JUL 02, 2020
Carbon Nanolattices: Lighter Than (Atomic) Feathers, Tougher Than Diamonds
Carbon is known for its plentiful allotropes, such as the naturally existing graphite and diamond, as well as synthetic ...
JUL 07, 2020
Neuroscience
How Blindsight Helps Us Explain Consciousness
JUL 07, 2020
How Blindsight Helps Us Explain Consciousness
Blindsight is the phenomenon in which blind people can interact with their environments even though they can't see i ...
Loading Comments...