What happens if you don’t go to the dentist for 20 years?

Answered by Stephen Mosley

Neglecting regular dental visits for 20 years can have serious consequences for both oral health and overall well-being. Without professional dental care, various issues can arise and have a cascading effect on other parts of the body.

1. Tooth Decay and Gum Disease: Without regular cleanings and check-ups, plaque and tartar buildup can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Cavities may develop, causing tooth pain, sensitivity, and potential tooth loss. Gum disease, such as gingivitis and periodontitis, can result in swollen, bleeding gums, bad breath, and eventual tooth loss.

2. Oral Infections: Untreated tooth decay or dental trauma can lead to oral infections. These infections can spread to the surrounding tissues, causing abscesses, facial swelling, and intense pain. If left untreated, oral infections can even spread to other parts of the body, potentially causing severe health complications.

3. Periodontal Disease and Systemic Health: Poor oral hygiene and untreated gum disease can have systemic effects on overall health. The bacteria present in the mouth can enter the bloodstream and contribute to inflammation and infection in other areas of the body. This chronic inflammation has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and respiratory conditions.

4. Cardiovascular Disease: Studies have shown a connection between gum disease and cardiovascular conditions such as heart disease and stroke. The bacteria from infected gums can enter the bloodstream, causing inflammation in the blood vessels and increasing the risk of blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes.

5. Diabetes: Poor oral health can negatively affect blood sugar control in individuals with diabetes. Gum disease can make it harder to control blood sugar levels, leading to an increased risk of diabetic complications. Additionally, diabetes can reduce the body’s ability to fight infection, making oral health problems more severe and harder to treat.

6. Respiratory Infections: Neglected oral health can contribute to respiratory infections, such as pneumonia. Bacteria from the mouth can be inhaled into the lungs, causing infections or exacerbating existing respiratory conditions.

7. Breast Cancer: Recent research has suggested a possible link between gum disease and an increased risk of breast cancer. The inflammation associated with gum disease may play a role in the development and progression of certain types of cancer.

8. Overall Quality of Life: Neglecting dental care for an extended period can lead to chronic pain, difficulty eating and speaking, and a decline in overall quality of life. Oral health problems can also affect self-esteem and social interactions, leading to emotional and psychological distress.

Neglecting dental care for 20 years can result in tooth decay, gum disease, oral infections, and various systemic health issues. Regular dental visits are essential for maintaining oral health, preventing complications, and reducing the risk of developing serious health conditions in other parts of the body.