Okay, so it’s pretty obvious that if you don’t brush you’ll probably lose your teeth, but by the time you get to the bottom of this list you’ll see that brushing twice a day can potentially save you much more than a couple hundred bucks on a cheap pair of dentures. It can save you tens of thousands of dollars in health care over the course of your lifetime and potentially save your life as well.
While we know it sounds obvious we just wanted to be clear, your mouth smells bad because of bacteria and chewing gum does not kill bacteria. At least not to any significant extent.
Caused by plaque build up on your teeth Gingivitis often leads to swollen gums that bleed when you brush them. Ironically, there is only one way to prevent this…to brush them.
4 out of 5 Americans have it
Your chances of actually preventing Gingivitis look fairly bleak. With 80% of Americans afflicted by some form of gum disease it quickly becomes clear why dentistry is such a lucrative profession. But gingivitis is only the beginning. Eventually you’ll find yourself with some much worse…
You thought swollen, bloody gums were bad? Well, that gingivitis will eventually spread and you’ll start losing the alveolar bone around your teeth, followed by the teeth themselves. Couldn’t get much worse than that could it? Oh it certainly could. Periodontitis, doctors have found, is often a gateway to many other much more serious complications. Let’s start with…
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Your mouth is one of the primary ports of entry into your body. Food, bacteria, almost everything inside of you passed through it at one point or another. This means that when something as critical as your mouth becomes infested with harmful bacteria (as it would when you have gingivitis or periodontitis) it will inevitably affect the rest of your body. Take this as an example…
Coined in the trenches of Word War 1 where it afflicted many soldiers, this is essentially an extreme form of gingivitis. Your mouth becomes so overrun with bacteria that they often spread into your cheeks, lips and jaw bones. This however, is just the beginning.
If your gums are bleeding and your mouth is overflowing with plaque and bacteria, it will eventually make its way into your bloodstream. Unfortunately this means that it will inevitably pass through your heart, and plague in your heart is never a good thing. Besides causing heart attacks though, this rogue bacteria can also lead to…
In a mechanism very similar to what happens in the heart, the bacteria can also spread through the blood stream and into your brain. So, not only can it increase you chances of having a stroke but it can also lead to…
Poor gum health increases your risk of developing dementia by almost 30% to 40%. There are several theories about the exact mechanism but hopefully you can see the correlation. Remember to brush your teeth and it will help you remember everything else as well.
Yes, we know that this is a form of dementia, but just in case anybody reading this wasn’t sufficiently scared into brushing by everything above, we thought we should throw this one in for good measure.
Evidently those same bacteria that can destroy your heart and brain are also capable of decreasing the effectiveness of the insulin in your bloodstream. Eventually this will lead to difficulty in controlling your body’s blood sugar and then, at the end of the day, to an increased risk of type II diabetes.
So apart from that nasty, mouth dwelling bacteria seeping into your bloodstream and slowly contributing to the death of your vital organs, there is another mechanism by which they can be swept deeper into your body…inhalation. As soon as those fine droplets from your mouth settle into your lungs they can easily start causing problems and bronchitis is only the beginning.
Smoking is bad for you but smoking and not brushing your teeth is bad for you. It’s not just the smoke in your lungs that can cause Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, but also the tobacco destroying your gums. Like a double edged sword it increases your chances of having COPD twofold.
Even if you don’t smoke, that bacteria in your mouth can still lead to some nasty consequences. Just like with bronchitis and COPD, it has also been known to cause pneumonia. But apart from not breathing, there are still a couple other things that failing to brush your teeth can cause. Something like…
People with gum disease are 8 times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis. Apparently the bacteria from your gums produces proteins that induce a reaction from your immune system which at the end of the day leads to some serious joint issues.
As bad as it is to have your own body attacked by bacteria, if you are an expectant mother, there is another body that you should be concerned about. The bacterial infection can actually be passed to your child and cause problems with delivery. Not only that, but many times after delivery the baby’s have a…
Low birth weight
Antibodies to the bacterial infection in the mother have been found in the umbilical cord and placental blood of the baby after delivery. Not only does this mean complications at birth, but it can lead to numerous other issues as well. Unfortunately however, due to hormonal changes, pregnant women are more prone to gum disease.
Okay, I’m scared, what should I do?
So, now that you are sufficiently petrified of the bacteria living in your mouth, how can all of these things be prevented? Well, the good news is that it’s not really a big secret, but the bad news is that you have to admit your mother was right. Let’s start with the basics…
Brush your teeth
Studies have suggested that people, on average, spend about 1 minute brushing their teeth. This generally removes only about 60% of the plague. We know, however, that because you are not an average person, you always brush for two minutes thereby removing 120% of the plague (just kidding, save the nerdy comments, we know it’s not possible). But seriously, stick it out and don’t forget to…
Brushing without flossing is like jumping out of a plane without a parachute. Sure, it’ll save you a little bit of time, but in the end you die. Okay, it was a bit of a slant, but you get the point. Although your brush can clean the exposed surfaces of your teeth, much of the plaque buildup occurs between them.
Your teeth compose only about 20% of your mouth, so even after brushing and flossing there’s still a good amount of bacteria on your tongue, gums, and even your saliva. Seems hopeless? Not if you rinse till it burns! But just as you can fight the bacteria in the bathroom, you can also fight them in the kitchen when you…
By consuming lots of fiber you are not only contributing to the overall health of your body, but you are also stimulating the flow of saliva in your mouth which helps to remineralize your teeth when they start to decay.
Smokers are over 4 times more likely than non-smokers to get gum disease, and smokeless tobacco isn’t any better. The best policy is abstinence, which brings us to our final point…
You want to be fresh? Let’s just be clear – you can’t be fresh when your mouth is full of lethal, heart-stopping bacteria. So, before you do anything else, go scrub those pearly whites. Then, come back and watch the 25 greatest Fresh Prince of Bel-Air moments ever. Learn from the master.