Regular tooth brushing can keep your mouth clean and your dentist happy, but could it be life-saving? A new study has shown a link between tooth brushing and better hospital results, including reducing infection and ICU mortality. Below, we will discuss the study as well as some important facts about why brushing your teeth could be life-saving.

Tooth Brushing in Hospitals

A new study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal found that regular brushing among hospital patients reduced the risk of Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia (HAP). HAP is the most common and most fatal healthcare-related infection. Brushing was also tied to shortened ICU length of stay, reduced ICU mortality rate, and more. The study covered 15 randomized trials in Boston featuring results from over 2,700 patients. The researchers say brushing teeth is an “effective and cheap”  preventative medicine. The study suggests that hospital policies should work to ensure proper oral care for all patients. If the patients cannot brush their teeth, it should be something that the care team assists with.

What Brushing Your Teeth Does

While a relatively simple practice, tooth brushing accomplishes a variety of important hygiene tasks. Most importantly, it reduces the number of unhealthy bacteria in your mouth. It reduces the buildup of plaque, a film of bacteria on your teeth. Brushing reduces tooth decay and gum disease caused by bacterial growth. It also stimulates and strengthens the gums. Additionally, brushing cleans away food particles. All of this combined makes your oral microbiome healthier and your breath fresher.

Applying This Study At Home

Regular brushing helps stave off gum disease, infection, and further health complications. It is one of the cheapest forms of oral care and home healthcare available. While certainly not a cure-all, regular oral hygiene care is essential to improving overall health and reducing the risk of bacterial infections. Generally, dentists recommend that you brush your teeth twice daily. In the morning, it is recommended that you brush before eating breakfast. If you brush after a meal, you should wait 30-60 minutes after eating for best results.

A Center for Dental Excellence does not provide medical or healthcare advice via articles. This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for medical advice.
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