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Could Brushing Your Teeth Actually Reduce Your Risk of Developing Cancer?

This sounds almost not believable, but research is suggesting that keeping those pearly whites in good shape may actually help in reducing your risk for developing certain cancers. According to Dr. Dana Hashim at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, regular dental visits and daily tooth brushing may reduce an individual's risk of developing some head and neck cancers.

How did they find this out?

The researchers evaluated former studies performed in Europe, Japan and the Americas which evaluated oral hygiene in patients with mouth, pharynx (throat) or other oropharyngeal cancers with patients with no history of cancer. According to Dr. Hashim's research, annual dental visits, daily tooth brushing, missing fewer than five teeth and no history of periodontal disease was associated with a reduced risk of developing head and neck cancer.

So what does all of this mean?

This new research highlights the importance of regular dental visits and maintaining oral hygiene. Of course further research needs to be performed, and correlation does not indicate causation.

What are some risk factors for head and neck cancer?

  • smoking

  • alcohol

  • certain strains of HPV

Basic oral hygiene tips

  • Floss your teeth at least once daily

  • Brush your teeth at least twice daily for two minutes with a fluoridated toothpaste

  • Visit your dentist at least twice yearly for a check-up and cleaning

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