There are many reasons people avoid taking care of their teeth. From dental anxiety to skipping brushing from lack of time, these choices don’t always feel conscious. Our smiles aren’t like a self-cleaning oven or a vehicle that can be taken to the car wash once every season—they need regular, direct care from us! Even healthy teeth and gums suffer the consequences of inadequate oral care. If you skip the dentist or just neglect to care for your teeth, here are the long term impacts of avoiding oral care.
Without proper oral care, bad bacteria in the mouth can damage teeth. If bacteria are allowed to become unbalanced and overgrow in the mouth, your tooth’s enamel is at serious risk. Enamel is the shiny, protective layer over our teeth. Once this substance is gone, there’s no way to replace it. Without tooth enamel or damaged enamel, our teeth are subject to cavities. Tooth decay can progress to huge cavities that aren’t able to be repaired with fillings alone. You could even lose your teeth if cavities are left to take over your smile!
It’s not always easy to know when gum disease has become a problem. Often, plaque and bacteria build up around your gumline, which irritates both your gums and your tooth’s root. This leads gums to become infected and pull back away from your teeth. In addition to causing sensitivity, gum disease can also cause tooth roots to become damaged, which in turn creates loose teeth. Signs of gum disease include bleeding gums, loose teeth, and the appearance of elongated teeth.
There are several risk factors for oral cancer, including genetics, alcohol, smoking, and exposure to UV light. When you miss visits at your dentist office, you miss an important screening—an oral cancer checkup. 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer every year. Getting a checkup with your dentist means getting a screening for oral cancer that can detect the disease early. If you have risk factors for oral cancer and are neglecting your dental health, consider scheduling a checkup.
Getting professional cleanings at your dentist office helps to consistently remove surface stains. Since our tooth enamel is porous, this means our teeth are subject to staining over time. This is especially true for people who are fond of coffee, red wine, and tea. Removing those surface stains helps to improve your smile’s appearance. If you want a more dramatic whitening, you can talk with your dentist about teeth whitening!
Increase Future Costs
When you neglect to take care of your teeth or make a visit to your dentist, it might feel like you’re saving money at the time. However, when your oral health takes a turn for the worse, your out-of-pocket expenses are much higher than they would have been if you’d been regularly engaging in oral care. Increasing the future costs of your dental visits is a consequence of avoiding taking care of your teeth!
Your smile is so important. Your teeth help you chew and speak, your gums support your teeth, and your appearance is often dependent on your smile. Don’t neglect your oral care—even visiting your dentist once a year makes a big difference!