Brushing Your Teeth Twice a Day Lowers Your Health Risk
Thirty percent of Americans only brush their teeth once daily. That is certainly enough to reduce the level of plaque-causing bacteria–it takes about 24 hours to develop on teeth–but you are more likely to have cavities if you only brush once daily, particularly if you are only brushing in the morning. If you are going to brush once a day, it should be at night.
It is always tempting to take a few shortcuts to simplify our lives. I’d like to make the case that brushing once daily is not enough. Let’s talk about the health benefits of brushing twice daily.
Prevent gum disease. The acid that causes tooth decay irritates sensitive soft tissues in your mouth. The resulting inflammation can lead to gum disease. You can help prevent gum disease by brushing twice a day and cleaning between your teeth once a day. Several research studies have suggested that gum disease may be associated with other health issues, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Minimize bad breath. Brushing twice daily helps ensure that the microbes that may be contributing to your bad breath are removed before they build up and cause offensive breath. It also removes particles of food that may be stuck between your teeth. Food that remains in your teeth can rot or deteriorate in your mouth, making the problem worse. Be sure to brush your tongue too, as it harbors bad breath microbes.
Regular brushing reduces your risk of many health conditions.
- Dementia – Substances that are released from inflamed gums can actually kill brain cells and lead to memory loss. Dementia may result from gingivitis when the bacteria in the mouth enters the bloodstream.
- Prostate problems – Men with periodontal disease are more likely to have a condition known as prostatitis. Prostatitis is a frequently painful condition that involves inflammation of the prostate and sometimes the areas around the prostate. Studies have found a link between gum disease and prostatitis, which is characterized by painful irritation, difficult ejaculation, and urination urgency.
- Respiratory infections -Bacteria from gum disease can be breathed into the lungs. Once there, the bacteria can lead to respiratory infections, bacterial pneumonia, and bronchitis.
- Tooth loss – When a cavity goes untreated, it goes deeper and deeper into your teeth until it reaches the pulp–the tooth’s core. Once there, the cavity can cause an infection which can lead to tooth loss. Replacing a tooth is an invasive, time-consuming, and expensive process. By perfecting your teeth brushing game, you can skip that headache altogether.
- Heart disease – This research is still in its early stages, but it appears there is a connection between heart disease and poor oral hygiene. Heart disease kills more than half a million Americans a year, so it’s beneficial to lower your risks in whatever way you can. Even though this research is still developing, there’s no risk in practicing good oral hygiene habits while they learn more about this connection.
- Erectile Dysfunction – Poor oral hygiene puts you at an increased risk for erectile dysfunction when bacteria gets into the bloodstream and causes blood vessels to become inflamed. This inflammation can block the flow of blood to the genitals, making erections difficult or even impossible.
Brushing your teeth is important for your hygiene, your appearance, and, most importantly, your long-term health and well-being. Aim to brush for two minutes, twice a day, and floss once a day to keep your smile bright and your body healthy!