Brushing and flossing every day is something that dentists cannot stress the importance of enough. At every dentist appointment, your dental hygienist will remind you to brush twice and floss at least once daily. They may even recommend brushing and flossing after eating sugary foods. Most, if not all, dental clinics will provide a free toothbrush and floss at every cleaning as a way to encourage patients to maintain this daily habit. 

As professionals in the field, your dentist in Medicine Hat has studied and witnessed what poor oral hygiene can lead to. And taking a few minutes every day to take care of your oral health is worth avoiding the extensive and costly impact of poor oral hygiene. This article is not meant to instil fear but rather to educate our readers about the importance of maintaining excellent dental hygiene so you can enjoy healthy teeth and gums for life. 

Keep reading to learn more about the top risk factors associated with poor oral hygiene.

1. Cavities (tooth decay)

The first sign of poor oral hygiene is frequent cavities. Decay-causing bacteria make acids that erode the tooth enamel and create a small hole in the tooth, called a cavity. In Medicine Hat, professional teeth cleaning helps prevent cavities. The procedure thoroughly removes plaque and tartar that regular brushing and flossing can’t reach. 

It’s important to fill cavities when necessary before the decay worsens and leads to a tooth infection and, eventually, tooth loss. Be sure to brush with fluoride toothpaste which helps keep cavities at bay.

2. Permanent tooth loss

When a cavity remains unchecked, the tooth decay will eventually reach the tooth’s centre (called the pulp chamber) and travel through the connected root canals. Sometimes, root canal therapy can save the tooth but tooth extraction may be the best approach to save the rest of your teeth.

While there are various teeth replacement options such as a crown, a bridge, partial or full dentures, or an implant, there is nothing as strong as natural teeth. Furthermore, tooth replacement is costly. Your dentist wants to help you avoid this scenario and preserve your natural teeth for as long as possible. 

3. Periodontal disease

Poor oral hygiene can eventually lead to periodontitis, a serious gum infection that damages the mouth’s soft tissue and can destroy the bone that supports your teeth. When left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to permanent tooth loss. 

Periodontal disease is typically the result of poor oral hygiene. Symptoms include swollen and tender gums that bleed easily, bad breath, pus between teeth and gums, painful chewing, and receding gums, to name a few. Periodontal disease starts as gingivitis, a less serious form of gum disease. All types of gum disease can be prevented with proper oral hygiene. 

4. Bone loss

When poor oral habits don’t change and periodontitis becomes chronic, bone loss can occur. Bacteria slowly destroys the jawbone and ligaments that support the teeth. Bone loss is common with tooth loss if the tooth is not replaced. Once bone loss becomes a factor and is not addressed, the deterioration continues and cannot be reversed. The loss of the jawbone changes the structure of the face and can make a person look older. Furthermore, bone loss impacts the bite and causes other issues. 

5. Problems during pregnancy

Gum disease is a higher risk factor among pregnant women because of the rapid hormonal changes. During pregnancy, proper oral care becomes even more significant. Decay-causing bacteria can enter the bloodstream and impact the growing fetus. 

Infection can lead to low birth weight, premature delivery, pre-eclampsia, and other health risks. Oral health is considered an important part of prenatal care – if you are pregnant, be sure to see your dentist regularly and keep up with your daily dental hygiene routine.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Gurshant Grew - D.D.S. on August 17, 2022

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