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How the Economy Hurts Your Teeth

How the Economy Hurts Your Teeth

When you were a kid, you probably dreaded a dental visit. But then a change occurred. And a few short years ago, you couldn't stop dreaming about what your dentist could do for you: everything from tooth whitening and invisible braces to other get-gorgeous tweaks. Now he's lucky if he gets an afterthought -- especially when it comes to your regular cleanings. See, new research has found that when the economy is bad and you're unemployed, you take it in the teeth, putting dental care at the bottom of your to-do list (even if you have dental insurance!).

And that can drag down the rest of your body (not to mention your love life). Brushing and flossing daily and getting professional tooth cleaning regularly all greatly reduce the risk of gum disease. And gum disease has been linked to a host of other health problems, from heart attacks to erectile dysfunction.

Here's why: Gum-invading bacteria may trigger an immune response that promotes inflammation and arterial hardening throughout your whole body, which restricts blood flow. Not an ideal situation.

A professional cleaning once or twice a year is ideal (and if you have insurance, make it work for you!). But you can't just leave flossing to the pros (they know if you lie about it, by the way). Flossing has the ability to decrease inflammation in your gums and subsequently in your arteries, so it will help you keep your heart pumping and your sex life thriving. Oh, and it keeps your teeth intact, too. So don't follow the trend. Pick up the phone and dial your dentist.

Medically reviewed in May 2019.

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