Do you struggle to find the time for brushing and flossing your teeth, or simply can’t be bothered? You’re not alone. In the UK, US, and Australia, studies have found about half of the population don’t floss daily, AND one in five don’t brush twice daily — not a good thing!
If you feel reassured by that, wait. Gum disease affects almost 90% of the population to some degree and, in almost 50% of cases, has progressed to potentially affect systemic diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia, autoimmune conditions and more.
Tooth decay is still the most common non-communicable disease globally.
Taking proper care of your teeth and gums isn’t only about preventing cavities or bad breath; it affects your general health too. The mouth is the gateway into your body – it’s the beginning of the respiratory and digestive systems, both essential for staying healthy… let alone alive.
Evidence shows poor dental hygiene and a wide variety of ills are associated with each other. There’s also mounting evidence linking the relationship between poor dental hygiene and a wide variety of other illnesses.
We recommend visiting the dentist or hygienist at least twice a year to help maintain good dental hygiene. We also always recommend brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing at least once a day …think of it as an exercise in mindfulness, improving your oral and general health. By ignoring this advice, your risk of getting cavities dramatically increases, and you are more likely to face a range of other health issues.
Below are 6 reasons you should not neglect brushing and flossing:
Most of us don’t know that gums are not supposed to bleed when we brush and floss. If you notice any bleeding while brushing, then you probably have gum disease or are in the early stages of developing it. Gingivitis makes gums red, swollen, and quick to bleed and is also responsible for building bacteria and plaque between your teeth and gums.
Plaque can destroy tissues and bones in your mouth by creating pockets between the teeth and can be infected. This is the severe stage where gum disease is called periodontitis.
If the cuticles of your nails bled every time you washed your hands, you wouldn’t ignore it. So don’t ignore bleeding gums. It’s your body telling you exactly where to focus more attention.
Brushing and flossing are essential in maintaining good oral hygiene and maintaining your teeth. Not looking after your teeth significantly increases your risk of infection, inflammation, and decay – primary reasons for tooth loss.
Bad breath is clinically known as halitosis, which can affect as much as 65% of the population. There are many reasons for having halitosis as a symptom, but poor oral hygiene is one of the main reasons for halitosis. After eating meals, if any food particles remain for a long period of time, then a build-up of bacteria occurs, causing the bad smell. Brushing and flossing will clear this bacteria and plaque away, aiding with better breath. Bad breath isn’t something to ignore as it can be a sign of bigger health issues.
If you are not a regular flosser, try flossing and then smell the floss. It will motivate you to be regular!
Long-term research done by the Laguna Hills retired community shows that there might be a link between poor dental health and dementia. Usually, people who maintain better oral hygiene have better health habits. The researchers have taken 5468 people who are 18 years of age and found that people who do not brush daily had a 22% to 65% higher risk of dementia than those who brushed twice a day. Another smaller study showed that Alzheimer’s patients’ brains had more bacteria related to gum diseases than the cognitively healthy people.
Dementia is now being described as type 3 diabetes which is related to diet, as is gum disease and tooth decay. Whilst this may be only a correlation, at least reducing the inflammation in the mouth has positive flow-on effects systemically, including our brains.
If there are any lurking pathogens in your mouth, it goes directly into your lungs and can cause serious harm when you inhale. But you can reduce the chance of such Pneumonia by up to 40% by improving oral hygiene.
Preliminary research suggests that there is a connection between dental disease and erectile dysfunction. The possible reasons are the deficiency of Vitamin D in your body, smoking, and general inflammation, but the exact reason is still a mystery. And 53% of those with erectile dysfunction had severe periodontitis.
Why wouldn’t you do something as simple and mindful as spending two minutes in the morning and before bed to ensure your oral health does not adversely affect your systemic health?
Make brushing twice a day and flossing at night priority habits for a lifetime.