Oral care is a highly underrated faction of your overall health. A healthy mouth boosts your immune system, rids your body of bacteria and toxins, and promotes a holistic and healthy lifestyle. If you’ve been overlooking your oral health, read our list of 11 oral health facts you need to remember to keep yourself healthy and your smile looking great.

  1. 75% of U.S. adults have various forms of gum disease.

A staggering amount of U.S. adults have various forms of gum disease they aren’t even aware of. Simply visiting a dental professional regularly and continuously partaking in good habits can decrease your likelihood of contracting gum disease.

  1. Sealants on molars are beneficial for kids age six and older.

Molars are permanent teeth that usually grow in by age six. Sealing these molars has been proven to reduce cavities by 86% after the first year and 58% after four years.

  1. Only 62% of U.S. adults regularly visit a dentist.

That’s right — only about half of adults in the U.S. regularly visit a dentist to keep up with their oral health. A lot of dental problems that plague adults could be prevented if they would just regularly visit their dentist for their routine check-up appointments. Don’t be part of the 38% that skips appointments.

  1. Chewing gum can reduce bacteria in the mouth.

Something as simple as chewing sugar-free gum after meals can help clear bacteria out from between your teeth and increase saliva, which also helps kill harmful bacteria.

  1. Cavities and gum disease are the most common oral problems in the U.S.

But they don’t have to be! Simply visiting your dentist on a regular basis can decrease your chance of contracting cavities and various forms of gum disease. Regular visits can also help you catch a cavity or gum disease before it becomes serious.

  1. Cavities in children ages two to five are increasing by 15%.

This stat is according to a survey from the CDC. Good oral hygiene has to start at a young age; even with bottle feeding, sugary liquids are dangerous for children’s teeth and will begin to cause cavities at young ages.

  1. Better oral health equals better overall health.

We said it once and we’ll say it again — better oral health equals better overall health. Many diseases are linked to oral health problems, including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Men especially should focus on oral health (read fact No. 11) because they are twice as likely to contract oral cancers.

  1. 50% of U.S. eight year olds show signs of tooth decay.

Just about half of all U.S. eight year olds have serious signs of tooth decay. Thanks to all the starches, sugars, and highly processed foods our country produces, kids can’t get away from an increase in unhealthy foods they’re offered. Make sure your kids are brushing twice a day for at least two minutes to decrease their likelihood of tooth decay.

  1. Healthy foods help clean your mouth.

Did you know that healthy foods like celery, carrots, and apples can help release trapped food from between your teeth? Eating healthy can really make a difference in your oral health, especially when you regularly snack on self-cleaning treats like these.

  1. Changing your toothbrush often is necessary.

Changing your toothbrush every three months (and after you’ve been sick) is no longer a suggestion but a necessity. Broken down bristles and clinging germs are taking a toll on your oral health. Change your toothbrush every three months to get rid of pesky germs and to make sure you’re removing all your tooth plaque with tough brush bristles. Set a reminder on your phone so you don’t forget when the time is up on your current toothbrush.

  1. Men are more likely to develop gum disease.

The average male is only 49% likely to brush his teeth two times a day. This low percentage leads to men being more likely to develop gum disease than women. Approximately 34% of men ages 30-54 and an enormous 56% of men ages 55-90 contract gum disease in their lifetime.

Don’t overlook your oral health! Visit your dentist regularly and brush and floss those pearly whites two times a day. For another addition to your daily oral routine, check out our suggestions about tongue scraping to remove excess bacteria and boost your immune system.

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