Tigard Dentist: 5 Reasons Brushing Your Teeth Can Save Your Life

Tigard Dentist, Dr. Justin Marostica, knows that brushing your teeth can literally save your life.  We all know brushing your teeth removes unwanted plaque and bacteria which can lead to things like cavities and gingivitis, but recently studies have shown that by simply brushing our teeth can help limit life threatening diseases.

Brushing your teeth can help you have a health mouth and body.
Brushing your teeth can help you have a healthy mouth and body.

Proper brushing is also important.  As a dentist in Tigard OR, Dr. Marostica teaches his patients that twice a day brushing is ideal.  He also recommends flossing your teeth at least once a day and using a mouthwash.  Establishing these habits at an early age will reduce the likelihood of early tooth loss and life threatening illnesses.   Here are 5 reasons brushing your teeth can save your life.

1.  Heart Disease & Stroke. A variety of studies have established that inflammation and bacteria in the mouth and gums can find its way into the bloodstream, leading to thickening of the arteries and increasing the risk of a heart attack; while fatty plaques that build up on the inside of the vessels can break off, go to the brain and cause a stroke.

Need further convincing? One recent study published in the British Medical Journal analyzed data from over 11,000 adults and determined that participants who reported brushing their teeth less frequently had a 70% increased risk of heart disease versus those who brushed twice daily. So do your heart a favor and brush up on good dental hygiene.

2.  Diabetes. Doctors have long known that Type 2 diabetics have an increased occurrence of periodontal disease, but it turns out preventing gum infections may stave off diabetes in the first place. A recent study out of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health that followed 9,296 nondiabetic participants over 20 years found that people who had higher levels of periodontal disease had twice the risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those with low levels or no gum infections.

Although further research is needed to determine the exact reason, one theory proposes that serious oral infections can lead to low-grade inflammation throughout your body and that inflammation may destroy your ability to process sugar.

3.  Alzheimer’s Disease.  A study has found that people with poor oral hygiene or gum disease could be at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s compared with those who have healthy teeth.

Researchers from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in the UK, discovered the presence of a bacterium called Porphyromonas gingivalis in the brains of patients who had dementia when they were alive. The bug is usually associated with chronic periodontal (gum) disease.

4.  Respiratory Infections.  Keeping your mouth clean and healthy can also help keep your lungs protected according to a recent study in the Journal of Periodontology. In a pool of 200 participants aged 20 to 60, researchers found that patients suffering from a respiratory illness such as pneumonia, acute bronchitis, an upper respiratory infection, or COPD had poorer periodontal health than those in the control group.

The reason for this association likely lies in the bacteria caused by periodontal disease, which forms in the upper throat. From there it can easily be inhaled into the lower respiratory tract and can obstruct breathing or develop into more serious lung-related problems.

5.  A Healthy Pregnancy.  If you’re pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant it’s more important than ever to stay on top of your oral health. Due to hormonal fluctuations and the increased blood flow throughout your body during pregnancy, you are more likely to notice changes in your teeth and gums.

According to the American Academy of Periodontists, about fifty percent of pregnant women develop gingivitis, a condition that leaves gums inflamed, bleeding, swollen, or tender. Left unchecked it can lead to periodontal disease, a serious infection that could create problems in the delivery room. While research is still being done, several studies suggest there is a direct relationship between infected bacteria in your mouth and premature deliveries, low-birth rate, and preeclampsia. To be safe, be diligent about brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist, and make sure to alert her to any pain or problems that pop up over the nine months.

The simple habit of brushing your teeth can potential save your life.  It is never too late to start this important habit.  If you have questions or would like to speak with one of doctors give us a call at Tigard TenderCare Dental (503) 670-7088.