There are benefits to keeping your pearly whites so, well, pearly white that go beyond having a picture-perfect smile.
According to a recent study from the University of California, daily brushing is associated with a lower risk of developing dementia later on, Reuters reported.
The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study included 5,468 people with an average age of 81, who were part of a retirement community in California between 1992 and 2010. Over the 18-year study period, 1,145 eventually developed dementia.
Researchers found that female study participants who didn’t practice daily brushing had a 65 percent greater chance of developing dementia than those who did. Similar — though less pronounced — results were found for the men; those who didn’t brush daily had a 22 percent greater chance of developing the disease than those who kept up their dental habits, Reuters reported.
“In addition to helping maintain natural, healthy, functional teeth, oral health behaviors are associated with lower risk of dementia in older adults,” the researchers wrote in the study.
However, they also warned that the study did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between brushing teeth and dementia. “I would be reluctant to draw the conclusion that brushing your teeth would definitely prevent you from getting Alzheimer’s disease,” study researcher Annlia Paganini-Hill told Reuters.
Similarly, a 2007 study in the Journal of the American Dental Association showed a link between tooth loss and dementia, PsychCentral reported. That research found that people in the study who had the least teeth (ranging anywhere from nine teeth to no teeth at all) had a higher risk of dementia, than people who hadn’t lost so many.
Daily brushing has been shown to be a boon to your health in many other ways, as well. From maintaining a healthy weight to decreasing the risk for erectile dysfunction, it’s wise to keep your smile healthy.