Next time you’re too tired for self care before bedtime or too rushed to brush before school or work, consider the consequences to not brushing your teeth. They could be more serious than you think.
Here’s the lowdown on what you can expect if you remove teeth brushing from your daily personal care.
Kiss kissing good-bye
Let’s start with the most obvious. That lovely minty taste to toothpaste and those bouncy bristles on toothbrushes remove all the things you don’t want to share when you share mouths. You might not notice you have bad breath or a piece of spinach stuck in between your teeth, but your romantic interest certainly does.
When we say hi to friends, loved ones and even new acquaintances, we typically smile. If you stop brushing your teeth, those greetings will be a little less bright right away. Over time, thanks to the lingering tartar and plaque, your teeth will appear more yellow—and you might be scared to say hi.
We’re not talking about the complimentary whistling at you. We’re talking about the whistling coming from you. That’s right, eventually the lack of brushing your teeth will result in losing your teeth. The good news is, you’ll probably whistle more loudly whether you want to or not. The bad news is, no one really appreciated your whistling at them in the first place. Try just complimenting someone with nice words, instead.
Bet on diabetes
Removing the task of brushing from your life could do more than remove a tooth or two. It could bring ailments, too. When bacteria is not removed from the mouth it eventually gets into your blood system. Your body can fight off some bacteria, but your body needs you to have its back—aka good hygiene. When bacteria overwhelms the circulatory system, conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and bronchitis can develop. If the bacteria gets to the brain, your chances for a stroke go up. Some studies have even shown a link between poor oral hygiene and dementia.
Dental to mental
When your social and romantic life is challenged by bad dental hygiene and your physical health starts to deteriorate, you run the risk of chronic depression and/or anxiety. What we’re saying is that what may start as a dental health problem could easily become a mental health problem.
Sexually transmitted disease
Imagine for a moment that someone actually did want to kiss you, or more. Your bacteria-filled mouth—specifically, the pockets in your gums—act as holding tanks for substances like HPV. Oral sex therefore is foreplay, to things like cervical cancer.
On the bright side
Hopefully the prospects for dental damage we listed above awaken a desire for appropriate self care. Here are some tips to make your dental care challenges a little less challenging.
Breaking habits not teeth
Bad habits are hard to break, especially when that self care needs to happen in the rush of a morning or at the end of a long day. So, reverse engineer the situation. For example, brush your teeth when you typically have more time and energy. Consider carrying along some floss and a toothbrush to work or school. Since two brushings a day are your goal, you’ll be one step ahead. You’ll also be establishing a habit—a good one—and those ones are hard to break too.
Find another solution
Nothing can take the place of flossing and brushing regularly. However, somewhere between flossing/brushing and doing nothing is another solution—literally. We recommend keeping a mouthwash on the counter of your bathroom sink. If time or energy is the issue keeping you from regular dental care, rinse your mouth with a reputable mouthwash when you wake up and when you go to bed. It will reduce the bacteria buildup to a degree.
Psychologists have long known about something called the sunk-cost effect. People feel compelled to use products they’ve paid for to avoid feeling they’ve wasted their money. In fact, people will even report enjoying one thing more than another when they believe they’d paid more for it. In other words, spoil yourself with the best toothpaste, the coolest water pick, the finest electric toothbrush or the best dental care you can find (Hint: We’re talking about us !). All this just might cause the effect of healthy habits and teeth.
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