A Look at What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Brushing Your Teeth

Poor dental hygiene can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and more

Photo: The Howard Stern Show

What would happen if you stopped brushing your teeth for a year? The question was explored by USA Today on Tuesday, and the results will make you want to hang on tight to your Oral B.

First, the obvious: most individuals who stop brushing their teeth will develop tooth decay and gum disease, eventually leading teeth to fall out. However, it only gets worse from there. When bacteria in the mouth isn't eliminated, it can adversely affect the body's entire immune system. Bacteria living under the gum line which has access to the blood line can be especially nasty, and has been said to lead to pneumonia, heart attacks, and even the development of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), a super bacteria resistant to many medications which can infect the heart lining and blood stream.

Of course, every individual's body is different. In rare cases, people in otherwise good health might quit brushing and experience few problems at all, aside from bad breath stemming from plaque buildup. "It's not going to be good for relationships with other people," Matthew Messina, spokesman for the American Dental Association told USA Today. "You aren't going to have a lot of friends."

Read more about the importance of good dental hygiene here.