As your Portland family dental care provider, our staff at Portland Family Dentistry strives to help all of our patients enjoy the best oral health possible. While the majority of our patients understand that practicing quality oral hygiene at home – brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily – helps to protect the long-term health of your teeth and gums, good oral hygiene habits can also improve your overall health as well.
In recent years, a growing amount of research has found compelling links between dental decay and gum disease and an increased risk of developing a variety of chronic illnesses that range from heart disease to Alzheimer’s disease to some forms of cancer. However, despite the importance of enjoying good oral health, 25 percent of adults in the U.S. fail to brush twice a day, including 1/3rd of men, and only 50 percent of adults visit the dentist every six months. These numbers show that millions of Americans fail to adequately take care of their oral health, which helps explain why nearly 178 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one tooth.
To provide further evidence why brushing and flossing need to rank at the top of your daily to-do list, here are a few health benefits practicing quality oral hygiene provides other than the prevention of tooth loss.
Lowers Your Risk of Respiratory Disease
In a 2011 study published by the American Academy of Periodontology, periodontal disease, a severe form of gum disease that can be prevented by brushing regularly, has been linked to respiratory disease. In the study, researchers discovered that the oral bacteria most closely associated with the development of gum disease could increase a patient’s risk of pneumonia.
Makes Weight Loss Easier
The idea of brushing right after drinking a glass of OJ probably doesn’t sound very appealing, does it? After all, the taste of orange and mint traditionally doesn’t go together very well. Surprisingly enough, however, brushing after eating has this same effect with more than just the taste of OJ. Drinking and eating after brushing isn’t very palatable for most people, which means you’ll be more likely to stick to your diet and avoid snacking between meals if you brush more frequently.
Improves Brain Function
A study conducted by researchers at New York University’s College of Dentistry tested 152 study participants to determine cognitive function later in life. Researchers discovered that a relationship existed between participants that performed poorly on a standard IQ test and periodontal swelling. Remarkably, participants who suffered from swollen gums were 9 times more likely to score lower on the IQ test when compared to participants who enjoyed good oral health.
So the next time you consider skipping brushing or putting off flossing consider just how important these simple habits, along with scheduling regular exams and cleanings with your Portland family dental care provider, are to your long-term health.