These were the words of a patient who visited a dentist. In fact, here is the quote in full:

“I don’t brush twice daily. Is it really that bad? What will happen if I don’t brush my teeth that often? I don’t have bad breath, do I?”

For most people, preventing bad breath is the major reason why they feel the need to brush their teeth. Once they are not suffering from awkward stares or people looking away as they speak, they are okay with being irregular. Most of the time, it is the night brushing that is skipped.

So, why is it important for everyone – child or adult – to brush their teeth in the morning and before bedtime?

Brushing twice a day keeps tooth decay away. The moist and warm conditions of our mouths serve as a breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria. When we eat, these bacteria feed on the sugars that remain, causing them to multiply, and forming plaque and tartar. The acids produced erode the tooth’s surface, resulting in caries and cavities in the teeth. If left untreated, these holes can grow deeper. This is painless until the hard surface of the tooth called the enamel is completely penetrated, resulting in toothaches.

At this point, the patient would require a filling, root canal treatment, or extraction, depending on how extensive the damage is. This is easily avoidable when we brush our teeth well twice daily. Brushing at night is especially crucial since the mouth does not produce as much saliva while we are asleep as it would in the daytime to constantly wash over the teeth. That gives the bacteria uninterrupted hours to have their way on your teeth.

Plaque and tartar are also unsightly. Everyone wants to have a bright smile worth looking at. Frequent brushing of teeth slows down their buildup, ensuring that the edges of the teeth are not lined up with these white and black substances.

And finally, your breath remains fresh if your teeth are brushed day and night. Brushing your teeth ensures that harmful bacteria are washed out. If given a lot of time in your mouth, however, they can settle on the tongue. As the mouth dries, these bacteria produce a bad smell. Effective brushing of teeth and the tongue keeps this problem away.

In order to maintain good oral health, it is important that you brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste like Pepsodent. The truth is that just a pea-sized amount at the top end of the bristles is enough to keep your mouth fresh, clean, and healthy. You do not even need to spread the whole surface of the brush with toothpaste.

It is important to not compromise on brushing. You have only one set of teeth. Take good care of them and they will take good care of you. It starts with brushing your teeth twice a day at least.