As a kid you probably learned all about good oral hygiene. Brushing, flossing, and rinsing with a fluoride-containing mouthwash can help prevent cavities. But our knowledgeable dentists at Snow Family Dentistry want you to know that good oral hygiene has many other benefits beyond cavity prevention.

Here are five of the unexpected benefits of good oral hygiene:

Healthy Gums

Your mouth contains a wide variety of bacteria species. Some are good bacteria that help you digest food; others are potentially harmful bacteria that can cause illness and infection. Brushing and flossing reduce the harmful bacteria in your mouth and helps remove the food particles that feed these bacteria.

Lower Risk of Heart Attack

When gums bleed due to gum disease, bacteria from your mouth can enter your bloodstream and spread throughout your body. If it travels to your heart, it could contribute to your risk of heart attack. In fact, having gum disease can increase your risk for heart attack by nearly 50%, according to the American College of Cardiology.

Lower Risk of Infertility

If you’re a woman, a spread of inflammation from your mouth to your reproductive organs could affect your ability to conceive a baby. In fact, one study found that women with gum disease took two months longer to get pregnant than those without it.

Lower Risk of Diabetes

Research has found that people with gum disease are up to 50%  more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those with healthy gums. What’s the connection? Inflammation caused by gum disease can make it harder for your body to use insulin properly, a condition known as insulin resistance.

Lower Risk of Cancer

Having gum disease could contribute to certain kinds of cancer, especially pancreatic cancer. Although researchers don’t fully understand the connection, it may be that substances from bacteria in the mouth might help boost the growth of cancer cells. There may be links to other kinds of cancer, too.

So remember, when you take great care of your teeth, you’re doing much more than just helping to prevent cavities….You’re taking care of your overall health!

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