Your mother always told you to brush your teeth before going to bed, and you mostly always listened, right? If you've ever fallen asleep without brushing, you know how icky your mouth feels in the morning. Yuck. However, studies have shown that the benefits of brushing your teeth go far beyond giving you fresh breath and adding a sparkle to your pearly whites. In fact, skipping your twice-daily toothbrushing ritual can have a negative impact on your overall health.
Healthy Gums, Healthy Heart
Who knew that keeping your gums healthy could also help protect your heart? Research has shown that people with gum disease are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those with healthy gums. So be sure to brush at least twice per day and floss once per day, every day. Preventive dental care is another critical step in addressing possible gum disease. Your dentist can do a deep clean to get rid of any problem-causing bacteria that has gotten trapped below the gum line, but to catch this condition early, you'll want to stay on top of your twice-yearly cleanings.
Clean Mouth, Sharp Mind
A study published in 2012 showed a link between good oral hygiene habits and lower rates of dementia. It followed more than 5,400 older adults for 18 years. The individuals in the study who did not brush their teeth every day had a significantly higher risk of dementia over the course of the study than those who brushed three times per day. So do whatever it takes to remember to brush and floss daily! Write yourself a note if you have to, or set a reminder on your phone.
More Scientifically Proven Reasons To Keep Your Teeth Clean
Healthy teeth and gums have also been linked with lower rates of diabetes, preterm births, and kidney disease. It turns out that the eyes are the window to the soul, but the mouth is the doorway to the body. When you regularly remove harmful bacteria from your mouth by brushing your teeth, you lower the risk that such bacteria will travel through your body and contribute to various preventable health conditions.
Bonus Benefits of Having a Clean Mouth
There are, of course, a lot of social benefits to having good oral hygiene. For example, you won't worry about people running the other way when you try to talk to them, because your breath will be pleasant and fresh. You will also have the confidence that goes along with having a bright, white smile. Also, when you keep your teeth healthy, you keep your teeth! Having a full set of teeth makes it easier to chew and speak clearly, both of which will help keep you comfortable both physically and socially.
If you haven't taken very good care of your teeth up till now, it's not too late to start! Even if you have already lost some or all of your teeth, keeping your mouth and gums clean is vital to your overall health. Get into the habit of brushing and flossing every day, and consult your dentist about what your next steps should be. This is one simple habit that can make a world of difference far into the future.