When you lead a busy life, it's all too easy to neglect your oral hygiene. You may, for example, find yourself brushing your teeth for just a few seconds instead of thoroughly cleaning each tooth, or regularly forgetting to floss. Here are two potential consequences which you may experience if do not prioritise your oral hygiene.
If you do not thoroughly wash your teeth, bacterial plaque will remain on their surface. This plaque will then begin to excrete an acidic substance that will, over time, erode the enamel of your teeth.
If this erosion continues, a hole (or a 'cavity') will develop in one or more of your teeth. Cavities can leave the tooth pulp (which is compromised of blood vessels and nerves) exposed. This can lead to a lot of pain and can increase the chances of the pulp becoming infected.
If the cavity is detected at an early stage, it can be treated by placing a filling (usually made up of a substance called amalgam) in the tooth opening.
However, if the cavity goes unnoticed for too long and as a result of this, grows very large, there is a very high chance that the bacteria in your mouth will come into contact with the exposed tooth pulp. This could lead to the pulp becoming inflamed and infected.
If this should happen, the dentist may need to perform root canal therapy to resolve the problem.
This procedure involves extracting all of the inflamed pulp from the root canals (to prevent the infection from spreading) and then rinsing out the emptied root canals (to remove any residual bacteria), before sealing up the tooth with a crown. The crown usually needs to be custom made and as such, is normally fitted a week or two after the root canals have been cleaned out.
When you fail to floss and do not brush your teeth properly, the soft film of bacterial plaque that is left behind on your teeth will quickly solidify and turn into 'tartar'.
Tartar is a very hard substance that can only be removed by a dental hygienist, using extremely sharp, strong dental tools.
Unfortunately, if tartar develops close to your gum line and is left there for too long, it can cause inflammation of the gums. This can lead to periodontal disease.
This disease can lead to the bleeding and recession of the gums. The latter is particularly serious, as it can eventually cause the teeth to loosen and fall out.
If you develop this condition, your dentist may need to perform a procedure called 'root planing', to rinse out the gum pockets. They may then recommend that you undergo a gum graft, to restore your recessed gum line.