Wednesday, February 4, 2015

3 reasons to brush your teeth that have nothing to do with dental health

We all know that brushing your teeth twice a day, every day is the best way to promote dental health at home. However, did you know that brushing your teeth may have additional health benefits - that have nothing to do with your teeth?

According to different studies, experts and scientists have found possible links between regular teeth brushing and a wide array of other health benefits. These benefits can range from anywhere between respiratory health to a better sex life!

Although the benefits of regular brushing are far-reaching, here are 3 big reasons to keep brushing, other than to maintain a healthy smile.

1. May reduce chance of developing dementia later in life.

According to an article from Huffington Post, a study found a possible link between regular teeth brushing and dementia in retirement community residents. The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study evaluated 5,468 people with an average age of 81, who all lived in a retirement home in California between 1992 and 2010. Over the course of the 18-year study period, 1,145 residents eventually developed dementia.

The researchers found that female study participants who didn't practice daily brushing had a 65% greater chance of developing dementia than those who did. Similar results were found with the men; those who didn't brush daily had a 22% greater chance of developing the disease.

The researchers warned however, that while the link was there, the study did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between brushing teeth and dementia.

"I would be reluctant to draw the conclusion that brushing your teeth would definitely prevent you from getting Alzheimer's disease," study researcher Annlia Pganini-Hill told Reuters in an article published in 2012.

2. May prevent heart disease.

Back in 2010, researchers in England analyzed data from more than 11,000 people who took part in a study called the Scottish Health Survey. In addition to examining the study participants' overall lifestyle habits such as physical activity, smoking, and so on, the researchers also examined their oral health routines.

The researchers found that 62% of participants said they went to a dentist every six months and 71% said they brushed their teeth twice a day. After making adjustments to the data to account for risk factors like obesity and family heart disease history, the researchers found that people who admitted to brushing their teeth less frequently were 70% more likely to have heart disease.

"Our results confirmed and further strengthened the suggested association between oral hygiene and the risk of cardiovascular disease," said Richard Watt, DDS, of University College London, says in a news release. "Furthermore, inflammatory markers were significantly associated with a very simple measure of poor oral health behavior."

3. May help promote better health in newborns.

Dental care is important to everyone, but it can be especially critical for women who are pregnant. A 2007 study published in the Journal of Periodontology Online found that gum disease is linked with pre-term low birth weight.

"Our study showed that performing periodontal therapy on pregnant women who have periodontal disease may reduce the risk of preterm delivery to equal that of periodontally healthy women," study researcher Catia M. Gazolla, DDS, said in a statement. "These are important findings that we hope all pregnant women will take to their dental professionals when discussing their periodontal health."

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