June 20, 2024

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One secret to preventing dementia, diabetes, and heart disease may lie in your oral health habits. Here’s the dental routine to follow

2 min read

While the connection between oral health and general health is well documented, it’s not generally discussed at well or dental visits. It should be: An April 2022 report from The National Institutes of Health found that 90% of adults ages 20 to 64 experience tooth decay, while almost 50% of adults 45 to 64 have gum disease. 

Dr. Michael Roizen, chief wellness officer at Cleveland Clinic, says oral diseases have a large association with overall health. Research has shown that there’s an association between your dental health habits and whether or not you develop diabetes, Alzheimer’s, stroke, or heart disease.

When we don’t take care of our oral health, says Roizen, dental caries (tooth decay) and gum disease can enter the bloodstream, contributing to plaque disruption in the arteries, or promoting inflammation in the brain and other areas of the body. “Flossing your teeth is the equivalent of 8,000 steps a day,” says Roizen. “Which is pretty darn powerful.”

Think of the body as a human donut

In 2019, the World Health Organization named tooth decay in permanent teeth as the most common health condition in its Global Burden of Disease report. Oral diseases affect about 3.5 billion people worldwide

What we often don’t realize is that this isn’t bad just for our mouths, but our bodies. “People think of their heads and teeth as disconnected from the rest of their bodies, but they’re not,” says Dr. Maria Ryan, DDS, Ph.D. in oral biology and chief clinical officer at Colgate-Palmolive Company. Viewing the body as one connected system helps reinforce how it can influence all areas of wellness and the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene, says Ryan.  

Naveem Jain, founder of Viome, a company that builds personalized toothpaste and supplements based on a person’s microbiome, compares the human body to a donut. “There is a tube that goes through us,” says Jain, noting that billions of microbes enter the body…

Nicole Gull McElroy

2024-02-24 05:10:00

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