Two minutes in the morning and two minutes in the evening and your lungs may be breathing fine for a very long time. We're talking about brushing your teeth.
As you've no doubt heard, good dental hygiene helps prevent gum disease. But what you might not know? A recent study suggests that gum disease may open the door to some pretty serious lung diseases.
The Mouth-Lung Connection
Smoking remains the leading cause of serious respiratory diseases, such as lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The recent study did not conclusively prove that gum disease is another direct cause of COPD. But people in the study who were hospitalized with COPD and other types of lung disease had significantly higher rates of gingivitis and periodontal disease than the folks in a control group who had healthy lungs. It's not clear what the connection is. But we know that the bacteria from dental plaque, when inhaled into the lungs, not only can cause COPD exacerbations but also might trigger respiratory infections in healthy people. (Check out a healthful protein choice that may hinder the development of COPD.)
A Double Threat
For good gum -- and lung -- health, brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes. Even better, brush after every meal if you can. And floss daily. The key is to keep dental plaque -- that sticky, bacteria-filled film that forms on teeth -- from building up and causing gingivitis and periodontal disease. Research shows that spending at least two minutes brushing each cleaning session is ideal for removing plaque. Get the scoop on which dental tools are best for brushing and flossing.
Previously published on 04/07/2011
Seeing a dental professional every 6 months to have your gums checked and cared for, or more often if advised, can make your RealAge as much as 6.4 years younger. Take the NEW RealAge Test!
ReferencesAssociation between respiratory disease in hospitalized patients and periodontal disease: a cross-sectional study. Sharma, N., Shamsuddin, H., Journal of Periodontology 2011 Jan 10. doi:10.1902/jop.2011.100582.
Actively patrolling your health can make your RealAge as much as 12 years younger. Take the RealAge Test Copyright 2010 RealAge