According to statistics from the Delta Dental Oral Health and Well-being Survey found on the American Dental Association’s website, more than 30 percent of Americans aren’t brushing enough (meaning length of time), and that 23 percent of adults had gone two or more days without brushing their teeth in the previous year. 

“We actually see this occur in particularly young males,” says Mark S. Wolf DDS, Professor and Chair in the Department of Cariology and Comprehensive Care at New York University College of Dentistry. “Typically, they start right around the time they begin dating. But overall, it’s not an uncommon event to have somebody who does not brush often. Of course, I’m not typically thrilled with the idea!”

What happens if you don’t brush your teeth?

A Day: By the time you hit the 24-hour mark, a thin film of plaque (a sticky deposit on the outside of the teeth that contains bacteria) begins to form. There’s probably no real damage done in one day, but it does start relatively early to progress. ” Bad breath sets in by day two. 

A Week: After about seven days without brushing, the accumulation of plaque becomes a little bit thicker, and at this moment, it’s probably smelling. Also between three days and one week, gingivitis, a form of gum disease begins

A Month: After 30 days without using a toothbrush, the bacteria living inside your mouth begins the process of breaking down your teeth. This is the time when white spots form on the teeth, which indicates enamel decalcification—the first visible sign of deterioration of the teeth. 

A Year: By the time a person has gone 365 days without tasting toothpaste, their saliva—especially from a diet high in sugar—contributes to additional tooth decay “and holes in the teeth, secondary to the build-up of plaque.  And then there are the gums. While the gums aren’t receding at this point, they’re extremely red and inflamed.   

And Remember: use a fluoride containing toothpaste and brushing for “two good minutes” at least once a day. If you’re dealing with gum disease or tooth decay, you should be brushing at least twice a day.