Published on May 12, 2017, Updated on April 13, 2020
“I can skip brushing just this once, right?” Do you find yourself saying something similar from time to time? For such a simple action, brushing your teeth has major benefits for your oral health and overall wellness. Skipping on good oral hygiene habits can land you with gingivitis and the early stages of gum disease. Skipping flossing can give you cavities in between your teeth, costing you money and time in the long run. Skipping on seeing the dentist for your biannual checkups could leave you with oral health problems that go unnoticed before they severely progress. Gum disease risks is magnified when wearing braces since there are more places food and debris can get stuck or hide. We give our patients cleaning and care guidelines for their teeth and it’s for a reason. At Hardy Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, we do all that we can to keep your teeth healthy, straight and functioning properly.
What happens when you don’t bathe often enough? Generally you will feel sweaty or greasy, or you might start seeing more acne and skin problems. Other people (and maybe even you) will start to notice a smell as well. It’s important to keep the body clean to prevent skin and health problems, but what about the mouth? Studies have shown that the human mouth can carry up to 700 strains of bacteria. Sounds like a pretty crazy number, right? Most people only have about 34-72 strains of bacteria, but not all of these are bad. In fact, bacteria helps break down the food you put into your body, starting the digestion process. It’s the good bacteria in saliva that works with your body to break down food into fuel. But what about the bad bacteria?
Bad bacteria breaks down the tooth enamel over time. Don’t give that bacteria time to decay your teeth. Plaque is that sticky film that you get on your teeth after you’ve eaten during the day. That bacteria-infested plaque is an acidic substance that slowly breaks down tooth enamel. When enamel is weaker, that acidic substance can seep into the teeth causing tooth decay, otherwise known as cavities. How to prevent this from happening? Brushing and flossing often (at least the recommended 2x per day or more). Brushing and flossing your teeth prevents you from getting cavities or other oral conditions. The more you brush and floss, the higher your chances are that you won’t need dental work. Bacteria is not satisfied with just attacking the teeth alone. It also targets your gums.
Bacteria in the mouth erodes the tooth enamel, and inflames the gums. Bacteria (usually “porphyromonas gingivalis”) affects the tissues (your gums) of the mouth and the bones that support your teeth. Judging by the bacteria’s name, you might notice that it has roots to “gingivitis”–the first stage of gum disease. Gingivitis can cause red, swollen and tender gums and cause the gums to bleed during brushing and flossing. Find your gums bleeding often? You may not be doing enough to remove the bad bacteria from your teeth. Even good oral hygiene followers can be susceptible to gingivitis as it can get into hard-to-reach places. We offer effective tips for brushing and flossing the teeth to avoid gingivitis in its entirety.
Gingivitis—if left unchecked—can lead to progressed gum disease, otherwise known as “periodontal disease” or “periodontitis”. This is a serious condition, as periodontitis affects the gums that support the teeth and keep them in place. Gum disease will cause those red, bleeding and inflamed gums to worsen and will cause the gums to recede from the teeth. The more recession there is, the greater a chance you have of your teeth falling out and the bones in the mouth becoming weaker. Avoid these conditions and issues with proper oral hygiene routines! When it comes to the question of “I can skip brushing just this once, right?,” it’s better to not do it. Take the extra time to clean your teeth.
Much of your oral health will directly correlate to the care you give your mouth. Brush and floss often, after every meal is the ideal. When it comes to braces, take the extra time to floss between each bracket and to get food out of the brackets and around the teeth. Brush for a longer time period so that the teeth are kept clean and strong during their time with brackets.
Professional dental cleanings are recommended at least twice a year. We also recommend a comprehensive exam every year. For tooth decay or gum disease that is already present, we have treatment to help reverse and eliminate gum disease. Let us help you learn more about proper oral care and what happens when you don’t practice good oral hygiene habits. Call our Hardy Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics office today at 720-887-6003 for tips, recommendations and to schedule your consultation!