Can’t ever find the time to take care of your teeth? About half of Americans don’t floss daily, and one in five don’t brush twice daily — so you’re not alone.
But you may want to reconsider.
“Taking care of your teeth and gums isn’t just about preventing cavities or bad breath,” the American Dental Association warns. “The mouth is a gateway into your body’s overall health.”
It’s almost impossible to prove a cause-effect relationship between dental neglect and various conditions because researchers would have to create a control group that ignored their teeth completely for a long time — something that would likely be harmful enough to be considered unethical. But there’s mounting evidence that shows an association between poor dental hygiene and a wide variety of ills.
You should visit the dentist at least once a year, and the ADA recommends that you brush twice a day for two minutes and floss once a day. If you choose to ignore their advice, you’ll get cavities, sure — but here are 13 other things you’re at risk of, some more common than others.