That’s what happens if you miss one of the two minimum times you should brush, floss and rinse.
In pandemic times, taking good care of your oral health makes very good sense. Good oral health means not going to the dentist for a procedure. It certainly saves time and money.
Basic oral health involves brushing and flossing your teeth, followed by rinsing with a mouthwash. Not doing so may create havoc when bacteria take over your teeth.
Picture this: millions, and I mean millions, of bacteria thriving on your gums and teeth as a thin film called plaque.
How on earth did they get there? Well, the obvious answer is not brushing and flossing and rinsing allow them entry.
First things first. Sugared foods and drinks provide bacteria with the ideal environment to live in. Not getting rid of this environment enables bacteria to thrive. The bacteria then create the acids that breaks down the tooth enamel.
When that happens, a cavity forms. And that cavity, left unattended by a dentist (meaning without a filling) may grow wide and deep.
Left on its own, plaque can and does spread below the gum. So it is good advice to take good care of your gums as well.
Not doing so may cause gum disease starting with swollen gums leading to, at its worst, gum irritation and inflammation.
That’s when a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis sets in. Left untreated, it may lead to the loss of bone and gum tissue.
At the same time, pockets or spaces form between the teeth and gums. As the spaces get deeper, more gum tissue and bone are lost and may lead to losing your teeth too.
So what to do? Brush, floss and rinse.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day; it’s even better if you do it after each and every meal or consumption of food and sugared drinks. Brushing scrapes the bacteria film or the plaque away.
Floss at least twice a day too, after brushing. That string goes a low way, reaching into oral nooks and crannies otherwise unreached by the toothbrush.
Then rinse. At least twice a day too, after brushing and flossing. A mouthwash will reach what areas the toothbrush and dental floss cannot. Ask your dentist for the right mouthwash.
There you go. Brush, floss and rinse. At least two times a day.
Dr. Joseph D. Lim is the former Associate Dean of the UE College of Dentistry, former Dean of the College of Dentistry, National University, past president and honorary fellow of the Asian Oral Implant Academy, and honorary fellow of the Japan College of Oral Implantologists. Honorary Life Member of Thai Association of Dental Implantology. For questions on dental health, e-mail or text 0917-8591515./WDJ