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Haven't brushed teeth in 6 years.



Junior member
Jun 26, 2018
Hi, I'm 18 and I haven't brushed my teeth in roughly 6 years. My top row of teeth has moderate decay, and recently the rest of my teeth have started to turn a bit yellow. I have multiple mental problems, with depression and OCD being the worst for me. Lately I've been thinking that maybe not brushing my teeth, and not looking after my oral hygiene in general, is a type of self-harm?

I don't know how true that actually is, but either way I feel extremely stupid and embarrassed for not doing a pretty easy and simple thing. I don't really know how to tell my parents without them being disappointed or flipping out, and it'll probably cost a lot to have it fixed. My childhood dentist is a good one, but I have a feeling that he'd probably scold me and embarrass me even though he means well.

Sorry if this post is kind of all over the place, but I guess I'm just looking for some support and advice on how to deal with my situation. Thanks for listening!
Dear Inertia,

sorry to hear about your situation, but posting here and the fact that you are thinking of this topic and wondering what to do shows that you are on your way to change things.

I'm not sure how / if to think about not brushing as a kind of self-harm, but clarifying this question is not as important as actually starting to take care of your teeth. Do you know how to brush and would you feel able to start with it from now on? It would be a good first step in changing your situation.. a good second step would be to see a (kind caring) dentist, someone who can help you to come back to dental health.
It sounds like you have a dentist but are not entirely happy with him. Would it be an idea to find an another practice where you feel you wouldn't be judged for your situation?

All the best wishes :clover:
Thanks for responding, it means a lot.

I do know how to brush but I could use some pointers to make sure I'm getting the most out of brushing, and I'll try my best to stay consistent with it. I imagine it will be pretty painful to brush for a while, until my oral health gets a bit better. In my situation would it be normal for my gums to bleed and my teeth to hurt when brushing? I think the decay on my top row of teeth has exposed some of the nerves.

My current dentist is good, but he'd probably just make me feel worse, so I'd love to find a place that wouldn't judge me or make me feel bad. I've done enough of that myself, and I just want to move and get better. Lastly, how do you think I should tell my parents?
Yesterday I told my mom that I haven't been looking after my teeth very well, but she just kept asking to see my teeth, saying that she wouldn't really be able to help otherwise. I don't think I could ever do that, it would just be to embarrassing and humiliating.
Here is a link from the FAQ section here on the forum, where you can find information about how to brush:

And here is right an another link about preventing tooth decay, you will find things related to brushing there too:

I'm not a dentist so do not know for sure, but possible discomfort when brushing your teeth might be linked to the exact state of your teeth. Do your teeth currently hurt? Bleeding gums wouldn't be unusual, so don't be scared if this happens. A good thing would be to start googling and looking for a dentist you feel you might trust so that you can get things sorted as soon as possible.

From what you write it sounds like you already told your mum, which is great. It's good to know what you can imagine doing (like telling her there were issues with your teeth, which you already had done) and what you wouldn't like to do (show her your teeth). It's not easy to give any advices here - you know your mom the best and know how to address things the best, but you should never do anything that you do not feel comfortable to do. Would your mum understand if you told her you wouldn't like to show her your teeth, but would like to find a nice dentist who could take a look? Maybe even find a practice you like and suggest your mom to make an appointment there?

By the way, it's lovely to see someone your age taking responsibility for health, so very well done for that.
I'll check out those links, thanks.

I wouldn't say my teeth hurt, but they do feel odd and a bit tender. Sometimes the brush hits a nerve, and it really "stings". As for my mom, I'm pretty sure she'd take me to a dentist of my choosing, even if she didn't really understand. Also, what exactly do you mean when you say I could find a practice that I like? Are there alternatives to general dentistry?
You can do it!

Good luck.

Keep us posted.
Also, what exactly do you mean when you say I could find a practice that I like?

It's always good to have a dentist you feel you could trust and who wouldn't scold you or make you feel embarrassed. What I meant is to take a look around which practices are in your area and look if there is any dentist you find sympathetic. A lot of us do some research like that before booking an appointment - looking at the homepage, maybe even shooting them a mail with some background information or call them to check out if they are kind and supportive.