man with sensitive teeth

What Happens If You Don't Brush Your Teeth?

What Happens If You Don't Brush Your Teeth


We all know that there are many links between our oral hygiene and overall health. But what exactly happens if you don't brush your teeth? We’re not talking about when you accidentally forget one single night after tiredly hitting the sack. We mean when you don’t brush your teeth for days.

While it’s not detrimental to skip brushing every once in a while, over time, this bad oral hygiene habit can cause some serious implications. So what happens if you don’t brush your teeth? We want to walk you through the problems that can arise and show you why you really should brush twice a day.

Common Problems When You Don’t Brush Your Teeth

When you don’t brush your teeth and don’t take your oral hygiene seriously, there are both short-term and long-term complications. It’s now common knowledge that your oral health and cardiovascular-related heart disease are related. However, studies are still finding additional health problems that correlate with bad oral health. Below are just a few common problems that can arise when you don’t brush your teeth regularly.

Bad Oral Hygiene and Dental Health

Obviously, when you don’t brush your teeth, you will create bad oral hygiene and dental health. Without a clean mouth, all sorts of issues can occur, from bad breath to cavities to tooth decay and more. Over time, bacteria and plaque build up, causing unforeseen issues that are only noticeable when you take that trip to the dentist or start to feel a twinge of pain.


magnified tooth with cavity

Plaque is basically a sticky film that covers teeth. The reason we need to remove this plaque is because it contains harmful bacteria that can penetrate your teeth’s protective enamel layer. And when plaque breaks through this protective enamel layer, it can reach other more vulnerable layers, resulting in cavities.

Whether you feel cavities or not, plaque is there. It may not be a shooting pain, but don’t brush your teeth for a long time and it soon will be! Often, hidden cavities can also lead to dental infections and potentially even tooth loss. A visit to the dentist to have a cavity filled is not the way. Instead, brushing your teeth can keep these tiny pits at bay.


Cavities aside, plaque build-up can also cause gingivitis. A common type of gum disease, gingivitis essentially occurs when plaque causes our gums to weaken. A bacteria-filled plaque can cause an infection, which inflames and irritates the gum line once it extends below the surface of the teeth. Ultimately, this infection causes the gums to become puffy and swollen, making them bleed more easily.

When dentists measure your gums’ “pockets” with a small ruler, they check for signs of inflammation. Typically, each tooth should have a depth of one to three millimeters, but if gingivitis is evident, it can be corrected with a deep cleaning, antibiotics and, of course, frequent brushing! 

Common Problems When You Don’t Brush Your Teeth


When gingivitis is left untreated, an even worse type of gum infection can occur: periodontitis. Periodontitis is a deeper infection––a bone infection, to be exact––that can damage your bones and teeth. In time, this damage can impact the areas where your teeth are supported, leading to tooth loss. 

Fortunately, cavities, gingivitis and even periodontitis can all be spotted by your dentist. While you may not be able to detect early signs of periodontitis yourself, as they are not very noticeable, your dentist can point them out and guide you to better oral hygiene. And when you maintain healthy brushing habits, periodontitis can be stopped. 

Cardiovascular and Heart Diseases

Bad oral hygiene and plaque can also lead to cardiovascular diseases and even heart failure. The European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found in one study that subjects who did not brush their teeth at least three times per day were more likely to experience atrial fibrillation and heart failure. Within the same study, it was also found that subjects with more missing teeth were more likely to have a risk of heart-related conditions like atrial fibrillation.

Again, a professional dentist knows what to look for in your teeth and can inspect any signs of trouble. But you have to go to the dentist regularly, at least twice a year or once every six months, as recommended by the ADA. Regular dental visits can detect and reduce complications and problems that arise out of your oral health, like cardiovascular diseases and heart failure. 


In recent years, researchers have determined that our oral health plays a role in our mental health as well. According to a research review published in Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports, there is some indication that dental decay may increase a person’s risk for dementia. Discovering a correlation between inflammatory dental conditions (periodontitis) and brain inflammation, researchers believe there might be a link that causes this age-related condition.

While further research is needed, this potential link is simply one more reason to be mindful of your oral hygiene and make sure to brush those teeth regularly! 

holding mouth brushing teeth

Timeline of Not Brushing

Okay, so now you understand some of the problems that can arise from neglecting those pearly whites. And, yes, we understand that nobody’s perfect and skipping a brushing is quite common. But to truly express how important it is not to skip too often and its cumulative effects, here’s a day by day breakdown of what happens if you don’t brush your teeth after one day, one week, one month and even after an entire year. 

Day One

You skipped a brushing. No big deal, right? Maybe. But keep in mind that bad habits are hard to break. And it’s a slippery slope from forgetting to brush to consciously ignoring (and breaking) good habits. 

So what happens after one day of not brushing? Within 48 hours, the dental plaque on your teeth starts to decalcify the protective dentin layer. While it doesn’t seem like long, it’s enough to penetrate and damage your teeth. However, if you brush your teeth regularly, you can be sure to stop plaque in its tracks.

One Week

At the one week mark, excess plaque has not only begun to weaken your enamel, but also give you some extra side effects, such as bad breath. Without brushing away food particles for an entire week, you can expect your mouth to have a fuzzy sensation. No, it’s not a protective sweater your tongue is touching. It’s plaque buildup and, well, week-old leftovers.

One Month

At the 30-day mark, your mouth is pretty ripe and filled to the brim with bacteria. Sadly, these bacteria have begun to slowly break down your teeth. At this point, you will have red, possibly inflamed gums and also white spots. White spots on your teeth can occur for many reasons, such as eating acidic foods, dental fluorosis, enamel hypoplasia and even genetics, but when you stop brushing your teeth for this long, it’s more likely due to enamel decalcification.

One Year

So, you really want to know what happens if you don’t brush your teeth after an entire year? Okay, we’ll keep it clean. While it’s hard to determine (after all, who would subject themselves to this research?), it can depend on many factors like your nutrition, your immune system and also how many sugary foods and drinks you digest. However, one year of plaque buildup would inevitably result in cavities, gum disease and possibly even tooth loss due to periodontal disease. And these are just the effects you can visibly see. Clearly, it’s not good to skip brushing for an entire year.

Basic Oral Hygiene

couple brushing teeth

Each person’s oral hygiene routine is different. However, take recommendations from the experts at the American Dental Association (ADA). Here is what the ADA suggests when it comes to brushing and keeping a clean mouth.

Brush Twice a Day (At Least)

Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Aim for brushing a total of two minutes to ensure you remove the accumulated plaque buildup and kill lingering bacteria. Also, use a toothpaste formula that includes fluoride to help prevent cavities. 

Remember to Floss

Flossing is hard for many to remember. But the ADA recommends flossing at least once a day. Don’t enjoy wrapping this painfully thin string around your fingers? Use an alternative, such as dental picks or a water flosser. 

Schedule Routine Dentist Visits

Make sure to schedule routine visits to your dentist. This means twice a year or, more ideally, once every six months. However, if you have poor oral health and issues like cavities, periodontitis or gum disease, they may recommend more frequent visits to stay on top of the problem.

Extra Tips 

Above the necessary steps to take to maintain basic oral hygiene, here are some more tips and things to keep in mind. 

Drink Fluoridated Water – Most cities’ water supply is fluoridated and you can drink straight from the tap. And drinking fluoridated water can decrease tooth decay risks in children from 18 to 40 percent

Use a Fluoride Mouthwash – Whether your community offers a fluoridated water supply or not, it also helps to use fluoride when possible in your oral health routine, especially if your teeth are cavity-prone. Ask your dentist about a prescription fluoride rinse or gel that can prevent cavities.

sonic blue smart brush

Use a Blue-Light Electric ToothbrushMany studies show that an electric toothbrush––with its sonic pulses––is much more effective at removing plaque and stains than a manual toothbrush. Plus, with bacteria-killing blue-light technology, a sonic toothbrush can offer a highly effective clean and healthy mouth.



Stop Smoking – Tobacco use of any kind can contribute to poor oral health. Cigarettes and even vapes increase the risk of dental-related issues, such as dental decay and periodontal disease, leading to further issues. 

Maintain a Healthy Diet – Avoiding sugary foods and drinks that cause cavities and bacteria is one thing. But also maintain a healthy diet and eat fresh fruits and vegetables that can keep a healthy mouth

Teach Kids Good Oral Hygiene – If you have children, it’s especially important to teach them good oral hygiene habits at an early age. Plus, with teeth still developing, brushing every day can keep their growing chompers healthy.

Best Products for a Cleaner Mouth

Now that you understand the importance of brushing each and every day, here are some products to help you easily keep up the routine. With these GO SMILE devices and formulas, you’ll achieve a fresher, bacteria- and plaque-free mouth in no time. 

GLOW on the GO Blue Light Device

GLOW on the GO Blue Light Device

If you’re somewhere that you can’t get to a sink for a good brushing, use our GLOW on the GO blue light device. This handy and compact device offers a water-resistant LED applicator and brush tip for those emergency touch-ups. All you do is twist the applicator and apply the dissolvable serum to your teeth. 

Luxury Mint Toothpaste

To keep your teeth as healthy as they can be, reach for our mint toothpaste. Packed with added vitamins A, C and E, this luxury toothpaste is sure to improve your teeth’s health. Combine it with a blue light sonic toothbrush and a teeth whitening gel for a brighter, whiter smile, too!

Teeth Whitening Kits

If you have indeed neglected your teeth and want to get those pearly whites back, check out our teeth whitening kits. Choose from trays and blue light toothbrushes, as well as required accessories to achieve a brighter smile quicker than other leading at-home teeth whitening brands.

teeth whitening kits


Baby BLU Sonic Toothbrush

Don’t forget to teach your kiddos good oral hygiene! With GO SMILE’s Baby BLU Sonic Toothbrush, you’ll set them on the right foot at a young age. With it’s interactive, cute panda bear design that offers a fun brushing experience, you can record their favorite tune and set it to the two-minute timer. Plus, the red light increases circulation around the gums. 

Children and adults alike need to maintain good oral health. And while skipping every so often is not terrible, it’s important to make sure you brush your teeth on a regular basis. Hopefully, these tips and convenient bacteria-killing devices and products can assist you on your journey to a cleaner mouth and great looking smile! 


Image Credits


Sergii Kuchugurnyi/