This man did not brush his teeth for two whole weeks resulting in alarmingly detrimental effects to his white blood cells.
Dentists are dedicated to encouraging good teeth health and it's not just to help you keep your teeth as long as possible. It's also because it is becoming clear that many other health problems can arise from bad dental hygiene.
If you recall last week's post, Dr Christopher Van Tulleken, was extremely scathing about the state of British teeth. Well, he's back again this week, bravely offering his mouth to science, to illustrate just how soon a lack of diligence can lead to measurable health changes.
The Experiment: Two weeks of brushing only teeth on one side of the mouth
- For two weeks, Dr Van Tulleken wore a gum guard on one side of his mouth and just brushed the other side
- When he brushed that side after two weeks his gums bled, i.e. he had already developed mild gum disease
- Lab tests also showed that white blood cells (infection fighting immune system soldiers) had become sluggish and were less effective in attacking infectious invaders
- It seems his whole body had become inflamed due to the gum infection
With long term gum disease this inflammation could become chronic, putting a strain on the immune system and leading to damage to other cells and organs
- Research into chronic inflammation is showing it could be strongly linked with Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.
The Good News: It's simple and cheap to avoid gum disease!!
- A cheap, soft toothbrush can be as effective as an electric one, if you brush your teeth properly
- Pick a floss or flossing device you like and do it as regularly as brushing
Sugary foods should only be eaten with meals. Snackers beware: eating bits of sugar all day causes continuous acidity in your mouth which can't be brushed away
More and more research appears to be linking a proliferation of oral bacteria to heart disease and other conditions.
So keep those bacteria at bay with the basics: Brush 'em, floss 'em and bring 'em to the dentist to check 'em every six months.