Closeup of mid adult man brushing teeth

Reducing Inflammation by Tooth Brushing

Creating a dental health routine is extremely important for not only our oral health but our overall health as well. From the time we can hold a toothbrush we are taught to and encouraged to care for our teeth. However, after decades of performing this routine day and night, the desire to brush for dental health can turn into nothing more than a cumbersome habit. Remembering why you brush your teeth can help motivate you to take impeccable care of your teeth, which in turn can help you take better care of your body. So ask yourself: when you brush your teeth, what are you brushing for?

Humdrum Habit to Healthy Lifestyle

Over the many years you’ve spent brushing your teeth, it’s fair to say that not every brush has been beneficial. Whether you were aware or not, not brushing correctly does little for your dental health. Creating healthy habits and brushing your teeth for two minutes each day is the best and only way to remove all the harmful bacteria from your mouth and prevent the development of plaque and subsequent tooth decay. Admittedly, it can be difficult to brush for two minutes twice each day when you feel rushed to get to work or too tired to even stay awake. But, what if you could see the good you were doing while you brushed your teeth? Would that help you brush better?

When it comes to keeping your teeth and body healthy, seeing really can be believing. After a recent trial that involved a plaque-identifying toothpaste, researchers found that people who could see the bacteria on their teeth after brushing, brushed much better than those who could not see it at all. However, there was more to this trial than just clean teeth. Brushing with this toothpaste that illuminated plaque and encouraged  better brushing habits also lead to a statistically significant drop in inflammation throughout the entire body.

The Trial

To understand the worth of their toothpaste the company provided a 60-day supply of toothpaste to randomized trial participants. Half of the volunteers received toothpaste with plaque-identifying agents, the other half received seemingly identical toothpaste that contained no such agent. Those who could see the plaque, brushed their teeth with much more care to remove it. But, when researchers tested the inflammation levels in the participants bodies with a high sensitivity c-reactive protein called hs-CRP (this is the same protein used to mark sensitivity to strokes and heart attacks), something eye-opening happened. This testing lead to the discovery that those who brushed their teeth with the plaque-identifying toothpaste had statistically significant drop in total body inflammation.

The Systemic Connection

This trail is wonderful as it adds to the body of knowledge that is beginning to understand how the health of the mouth influences the health of the entire body. Reducing total body inflammation through consciously executed daily oral habits is an easy way that you can reduce your risk of chronic illness, and it only takes two minutes twice each day. Inflammation is dangerous for your body because it stresses out your immune system. Inflammation is an immune response that is important in fighting off harmful bacteria, however when it is constantly fighting bacteria, the system and the tissues they are fighting in become stressed. Chronic inflammation of the gum tissue is known as periodontal disease, and if not treated can cause the loss of teeth and underlying bone tissue. Knowing that brushing your teeth can help you keep your entire body healthy is quite an incentive to reassess your habits and make sure you’re brushing correctly for the right reasons.

As your Melbourne, Florida dentist, we know a million reasons for you to brush your teeth. Fresh breath, fighting stains, preventing cavities, and periodontal disease are all great example of the power of brushing. But, now you can add reducing whole body inflammation to that list. If you need help creating a beneficial habit to keep your mouth and entire body healthy, ask us at your next appointment. We would be happy to refresh your memory on the proper way to brush and floss, so that when you brush you brush with purpose, and for the best reason of all – your health!