The boar's bristle toothbrush was invented in China in 1498. Stiff coarse hairs from a hog's neck were used to clean teeth until 1938, when nylon bristles were introduced as Doctor West's Miracle Tooth-brush. Floss was mass marketed much earlier -- Johnson & Johnson first sold dental floss in 1896.
Despite a long history of teeth- and gum-saving products being available, around 40% of adults age 30 and up in the U.S. have periodontitis -- advanced gum disease that is associated with stroke, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, dementia and problems in pregnancy. Now research in the journal BMJ Open has found that over the course of around three years, folks who are diagnosed with periodontal disease are also at a 37% increased risk of developing anxiety, a 29% increase in depression risk and significant increased risk of other serious mental illnesses.
On top of that, their risk of developing cardiovascular disease goes up 18%, and the risk for Type 2 diabetes rockets up by 26%, and the risk of developing autoimmune disease was increased by 33%.
Clearly, to protect your mental and physical health you need to brush two to three times a day, floss daily and see your dentists for checkups and cleanings as recommended (minimum twice a year). Psst! Don't use coated floss -- it may have PFAs on it, those carcinogenic chemicals that have been linked to kidney and testicular cancer, decreased semen quality and ulcerative colitis in adults and thyroid disease and lowered sex and growth hormones in children.
Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email [email protected]
King Features Syndicate