Brushing, flossing every day may reduce risk of dementia

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Experts say good dental health can decrease in-flammation in the mouth and reduce the risk of a variety of diseases and conditions. In a new study, researchers say people who maintain good oral health may lower their risk of dementia and cognitive decline. Experts say you can achieve good dental health by brushing your teeth two to three times a day and visiting a dentist twice a year. People with poor dental hygiene are 21 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease later in life.

That’s according to a studyTrusted Source recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society that found that poor oral health as well as tooth loss increased the risk of dementia and cogni-tive decline. “From a clinical perspective, our find-ings emphasize the importance of monitoring and management of periodontal health in the context of dementia prevention,” the study authors wrote.

“Given the impact of cognitive deterioration on periodontal health, oral health professionals are well-placed to track and intervene in early changes in periodontal health and oral self-care,” they added.Maria del Cielo Barragan-King, DDS, Ph.D., a dentist at The University of Kansas Health System, says the findings are an important reminder of the role oral hygiene plays in overall health.

“Our mouth is full of bacteria (good and bad). We need these bacteria to live in equilibrium and when our dental hygiene is missing, the bad bacteria can overcome and install in our gums. There is evidence that bacteria can travel to the brain and participate with neurodegeneration that will ultimately decline our cognitive health,” she told Healthline.

“Oral health is important for our overall quality of life. Taking care of our mouth is as important as taking care of our body. Our mouth is more exposed to the environment, and it is the entrance to our entire body,” she added.

Periodontal health refers to the health of the gums, bones, and tissues that surround and support the teeth. Previous research has linked periodontal health with systemic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Periodontal diseases can begin in the early stages of gingivitis, when gums can bleed or be swollen or red. If periodontal diseases progress to their most serious form, known as periodontitis, gums can come away from teeth and teeth can loosen or fall out completely.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly halfTrusted Source of U.S. adults over 30 years of age have some form of periodontal disease.

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