So it’s the end of a long day: Maybe you already fell asleep in bed watching Netflix, or maybe you just forgot. What could the harm be in not brushing your teeth? Not following your oral hygiene regiment, including teeth brushing, can have a lot of negative effects.
Every time you eat, the bacteria that is in your mouth also eats the food. And, as gross as it may be to think about, all living organisms excrete waste after eating, and the bacteria in your mouth is no exception. The waste produced is very acidic and is enough to erode and break down the hard outer layer of your teeth called enamel. Long-term exposure to these acids is what can cause cavities and decay.
Plaque can also form when you neglect to brush. It can form in just minutes after eating a meal or snack. When given a long enough period, such as overnight, it can harden and then calcify on your teeth in the form of tartar. After that, only a professional cleaning from your dentist can remove it.
Hardened plaque along the gum line can also create inflammation or irritation of the gums. Your immune system may try to fight the plaque, which can cause the gums to recede. This can cause a loss of stability and could lead to teeth loss.
One night of not brushing will not immediately give you gum disease or cavities, but if it becomes consistent, these oral health issues can start creeping up. If you know that you have fallen asleep too early or like to watch TV in bed, there are a few preventative options to consider. Keep a glass or bottle of water near your bed so you can rinse any extra debris. Also keep floss on your nightstand, because flossing at the very least is better than nothing.