The 7 Horrors of Not Brushing Your Teeth

What Happens if You Don't Brush Your Teeth?

It’s no secret that brushing your teeth is important for your oral health. But what happens if you don’t brush your teeth? The answer can be broken down into two main areas: Decay of your teeth and gum disease. Without brushing, plaque and bacteria will build up on your teeth, leading to tooth decay that starts as a cavity. Similarly, this buildup of plaque can lead to tartar and gum disease, which can cause bad breath, tooth loss, and even death. This article will take a closer look at what happens when you don’t brush your teeth and the associated risks.

How Not Brushing Affects the Health of Your Teeth

When you don’t brush your teeth regularly, plaque and bacteria will gradually build up on the surface of your teeth. This bacterial buildup feeds on the sugar in your teeth and produces acid as a waste product which causes tooth decay. The longer that you leave the plaque and bacteria to build up, the worse the damage will be. In order of severity, the decay of your teeth will generally follow this process:

Stage 1: The Decay Breaks Through the Enamel of Your Tooth

The first step of dental decay is the actual breaking of the enamel on your tooth. Your tooth’s enamel is the hard protective layer that keeps the rest of your tooth safe from bacteria and acid. The decay of your tooth is very slow at this stage, and if properly taken care of, the cavity can be reversed through fluoride treatment and proper brushing and flossing of your teeth. However, during this stage, it is nearly impossible for a person to tell that they have dental decay without looking at an x-ray of their teeth. This makes it super important to brush your teeth twice daily and to floss at least once a day.

Stage 2: The Decay Reaches the Dentin

Once the enamel is cracked, bacteria and acid can start to eat away at the dentin layer of your tooth. The dentin is the softer middle layer of your tooth that covers the pulp. When dental decay has reached this part of the tooth, people tend to be able to feel it. This is because the nerves in your tooth are able to feel the change at the dentin layer of your tooth. If the decay has reached this layer of your tooth, it will be too late for fluoride treatment, and you may need to look into getting a filling done. Relative to other procedures, the cost of a filling is relatively low. So if a dentist recommends a filling, it is better to get one done before it gets worse.

Stage 3: The Decay Reaches the Pulp

The last and most serious stage of dental decay is when it reaches the pulp. The pulp is the center of your tooth where the teeth nerves and tiny vessels live. If the decay reaches this point, it can cause an infection in your tooth that is extremely painful. At this stage, the only way to save your tooth is through a root canal or an extraction, depending on the severity of the infection. Both the cost of root canals and the cost of extractions can be quite high; however, root canals are the most cost effective in the long run.

How Not Brushing Affects the Health of Your Gums

In addition to decaying your teeth, not brushing your teeth can lead to gum disease. Gum disease is a bacterial infection of your gums caused by the same bacteria and plaque that causes tooth decay. Without proper brushing and flossing, the bacteria and plaque will start to build up on your gums leading to an infection.

Stage 1: Gingivitis

The first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. This is also caused by the bacteria and plaque buildup and results in your gums swelling and often bleeding gums. This is the first sign that your gums are not in a healthy state, and it is important to take of your teeth during this stage before it gets worse. Gum disease generally smells quite bad and can cause bad breath in addition to its other symptoms. At this point, it is still possible to cure gum disease, but not in later stages.

Stage 2: Periodontitis

If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis. This is when the bacterial infection spreads to the bones underneath your gums and starts to damage them. This is a serious form of gum disease that requires extensive treatment and can lead to tooth loss if not treated in time. Periodontitis cannot be completely cured, only managed. This makes it so important to brush and floss your teeth daily to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Practice Good Oral Hygiene to Prevent All These Problems

The most important thing to remember is that if you brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day, you can prevent all these problems from occurring. But it’s also just as important to make sure that you brush and floss your teeth properly. This means brushing for 2 minutes minimum each time, reaching the hard-to-reach places, such as the back of your mouth, and brushing in small circles and making sure to reach all your teeth. It also means hugging the side of each tooth as you floss and floss underneath the gumline.

If you ever have any concerns or questions about your dental hygiene, be sure to give your dentist a call. They can provide you with more specific advice on how to take care of your teeth.


Not brushing your teeth can lead to a variety of problems, which stem from tooth decay and gum disease. This includes:

  • Cavities
  • Tooth sensitivity and pain
  • Tooth infection
  • Loss of Teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Loss of Bone

The longer you let plaque stay on your teeth, the more likely you are to see these problems, and the more money the dental procedures cost. It is important to practice good oral hygiene and brush and floss at least twice a day in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy. If you ever have any concerns or questions about dental hygiene, it is best to consult with your dentist. They can provide you with more specific advice on how to take care of your teeth.


The contents of this website, such as text, graphics, images, and other material are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be substituted for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nothing on this website constitutes the practice of medicine, law or any other regulated profession.

No two mouths are the same, and each oral situation is unique. As such, it isn’t possible to give comprehensive advice or diagnose oral conditions based on articles alone. The best way to ensure you’re getting the best dental care possible is to visit a dentist in person for an examination and consultation.


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