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Remembering to Brush: How Does Dental Hygiene Affect Memory?

March 22, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — bearcreekfamily @ 7:52 pm
Patient smiling at their dental hygiene appointment

When you think about oral hygiene, you may often focus on its importance for supporting healthy teeth and gums. However, new research from Rockefeller University suggests that good dental hygiene may have benefits for cognitive function and memory, too! Read on if you’re curious how your oral health affects your brainpower!

What Happens When You Don’t Brush and Floss?

It may be a simple question, but the answer is the key to understanding the oral-cognitive connection. When you don’t brush your teeth twice a day and floss regularly, it leads to a buildup of oral bacteria.

Missing one or two days a month isn’t the end of the world, but you shouldn’t make it a habit. Once bacteria have built up enough, the consequences can be dire.

Your Body Is All Connected

Your body is like a whole other world complete with highways and libraries. The paths your body uses to move nutrients from one place to another can also be used by harmful substances. This can include oral bacteria which moves through your bloodstream to other parts of your body like your brain.

Gum Disease and Alzheimer’s

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common oral health issue that causes inflammation and infection. Research from the American Academy of Neurology shows that this disease may be associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The exact science surrounding this relationship is still being investigated, but they believe that bacterial toxins from the mouth may play a role.

Another study from Japan discovered that tooth loss and reduced chewing stimulation led to a reduction of the hippocampus in several participants. This is the part of the brain that affects memory and cognition, so a reduction in size lessens both of those functions.

Protecting Your Brain Through Oral Hygiene

So, what can you do to keep your memory protected from oral bacteria and tooth loss? Dental hygiene is the key! Here are some simple ways you can reduce your risk of cognitive decline due to mouth bacteria:

  • Brush and floss regularly: Brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily to remove plaque and bacteria that contribute to gum disease and tooth decay.
  • Visit your dentist every six months: Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings to check your oral health and address any issues quickly.
  • Eat a balanced diet: Good nutrition also has a place in protecting your teeth, gums, and brain. Fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and dairy products all help to keep your body healthy.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help rinse away food particles and bacteria from your mouth.
  • Avoid tobacco products: Smoking and chewing tobacco can increase the risk of gum disease and other oral health problems.

By prioritizing oral care and adopting healthy lifestyle habits, you can not only preserve your smile but also support brain health and sharpness! So, try to mind your mouth and smile brightly – your older self will thank you for it!

About the Practice

At Bear Creek Family Dentistry our team of talented and compassionate dental professionals use state-of-the-art dental technology and techniques to guide your treatment. Their goal is to make every experience at their office a positive one no matter the reason or duration of your appointment. Call (214) 333-3100 to schedule a dental checkup or visit the website to learn about all the services they offer for their patients.

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