Gum disease and dental work to correct it have been tied to a host of more serious health problems . Now, new research suggests that healthy gums might also mean healthy lungs.
A study published in the Journal of Periodontology has found that gum disease could increase the risk for a variety of respiratory conditions, including pneumonia, upper respiratory infections, acute bronchitis and even chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Why is brushing so important? Because it interrupts the growth of plaque--a thin, sticky film of bacteria that plays a primary role in tooth decay and gum disease. When you brush your teeth, you remove most of the plaque-causing bacteria. But some stay behind. These bacteria can set up a colony and begin damaging your teeth within 24 hours--which is why dentists recommend brushing twice a day to consistently interrupt their growth.
All you have to do is go tooth by tooth, bristles to the gumline, for at least two minutes, but most adults fail miserably. We brush haphazardly, concentrating on the front-and-center teeth and making short work of our molars. For many, the cardinal sin is scouring their gum lines as if plaque were bathtub grout.Set a timer if you have to, but don't skimp on brushing time. Two minutes is the minimum time you need to clean all of your teeth. Many people brush for the length of a song on the radio. That acts as a good reminder to brush each tooth thoroughly.