According to the latest research, not brushing your teeth properly can increase your risk of developing cancer and in turn, premature death.
Poor oral hygiene increases the amount of bacteria and plaque in the mouth, which scientists say directly links to cancer and early death.
A study carried out by the Swedish researchers revealed that people who had the most bacteria present in their mouth were 80 percent more likely to die early from cancer.
In fact, they say they could die up to 13 years earlier than would normally be expected.
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It is already suspected that gum disease has a direct impact on someone’s health, and the scientists say infections and inflammations in the mouth link to one in five cancers.
To carry out their study, the research team tracked the health of almost 1,400 people aged 30 to 40, between the years of 1958 and 2009.
In 2009, 58 people had died and 35 of those deaths were from cancer. The researchers then found that the participants who died had significantly higher amounts of dental plaque in their mouth than those who were still alive.
The average age of death was 61 for women, 13 years sooner than expected, and 60 for men, 8.5 years premature.
Writing about their findings in the British Medical Journal, the researchers said: “Based on the present findings, the high bacterial load on tooth surfaces and in gingival pockets over a prolonged time may indeed play a role in carcinogenesis.
“Our study hypothesis was confirmed by the finding that poor (mouth) hygiene, as reflected in the amount of dental plaque, was associated with increased cancer mortality.
"Further studies are required to determine whether there is any causal element in the observed association."
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