Brushing Your Teeth May Lower Dementia Risk (And 15 Other Reasons to Brush)

Dental professionals, medical professionals, and researchers all agree that brushing your teeth does more than prevent cavities.  Brushing your teeth also benefits your overall health.  The act of brushing your teeth can prevent, and in some cases reverse, many severe and chronic health conditions-including all forms of dementia (including Alzheimer’s). 

According to a recent study from the University of California, daily brushing is associated with a lower risk of developing dementia in the future.  Between 1992 and 2010, researchers followed 5,468 retirement community residents, with an average age of 81.  They found that female study participants who didn't practice daily brushing had a 65% greater chance of developing dementia than those who did. Similar results were found for the men; those who didn’t brush daily had a 22% greater chance of developing dementia than those who brushed.  Although a direct cause-and-effect relationship between brushing and dementia has not yet been established, the study did demonstrate a very strong correlational relationship between daily brushing and a lower risk for developing dementia in the future.

The link between brushing, dementia, and other serious health conditions (such as stroke, diabetes, and heart attacks) is the inflammatory process of gum disease (periodontitis). Periodontitis is caused when the bacteria in your mouth consume leftover food particles that haven’t been removed by brushing.

The act of brushing removes any leftover food, so the bacteria have nothing to consume.  If you don’t brush, the bacteria consume any leftover food or sugar remaining on your teeth.  After they consume, the bacteria excrete an inflammatory substance called “plaque”.  Plaque is a sticky, whitish film which, if not removed by brushing, irritates and inflames your gums.  Chronic inflammation destroys healthy tissue, which includes the veins and arteries that supply the blood to your brain and heart.

It’s easy to see how a diminished blood supply to your brain over several years could increase your risk for dementia.  The plaque that causes the inflammation continues to build up and can break off, partially or totally blocking a blood vessel.  If a blood vessel becomes blocked by plaque, the tissues dependent on that vessel for blood supply die, or become severely impaired.  Daily brushing has been shown to reduce your risk for (1) heart disease. Chronic inflammation from periodontitis is a contributing factor in (2) hypertension. Inflamed and narrowed blood vessels from periodontitis also increase the risk for (3) erectile dysfunction.  Plaque can break off, travel to the heart, and cause a (4) heart attack; or to the brain, causing a (5) stroke; or to the lungs, causing a (7) pulmonary embolism.

Daily brushing has also been shown to be an important factor in the management of (8) diabetes.  Periodontitis impairs the body’s ability to metabolize sugar.  Brushing has the ability to reverse a pre-diabetic condition, and to make existing diabetes easier to control.  The bacteria involved in periodontitis can be inhaled, causing (9) pneumonia and (10) bronchitis.  

Bacteria and inflammation quickly move from your gums to your jaws. When your jawbones begin to deteriorate, you will begin to lose your teeth.  This process will continue on to (11) changes in facial appearance, headaches, and, eventually, (12) total edentulism (losing all of your teeth).  A 2007 study found that individuals with less than 9 teeth had a higher risk of dementia than individuals with more than nine teeth

If you have artificial joints, like a knee or hip replacement, brushing can reduce your risk for (13) osteomyelitis (bone infection), (14) osteoporosis (brittle bones), or (15) sepsis (blood infection).

Brushing regularly is an easy and simple way to reduce your risks for many dangerous and chronic conditions.





RiverRock DDS Relaunches Website With Brand New Design To Enhance Customer Experience

RiverRock DDS has recreated their website from the ground up with a brand new design and all-new features, including the ability to book an appointment online via the website.

Dentistry is an essential for all the family, and helps people keep their teeth healthy, white and shiny so they can smile with confidence. When looking for a dentist online, so many practices will attempt to dazzle people with special offers or incentives, but little is said about their customer service or reputation within the community. RiverRock Dental Shakopee does things differently, and has just redesigned their website to reflect that. The website has all new features, as well as testimonials from community members and information on their staff to put the personal touch first.

Both new and returning patients can now book online via the website as well as filling out any and all necessary forms. The site includes a full listing of day to day opening hours to help people schedule their appointments effectively as well as information on the services they offer.

Each of the service titles can be clicked through to find out more about the service in question, as well as how it is practiced at RiverRock DDS. The site is fully flexible and responsive, capable of displaying beautifully on any size of screen.

A spokesperson for RiverRock Dental explained, “All our clients remark on the fact that we’re such a friendly practice, and we do our utmost to ensure all our patients are at their most comfortable and cared for throughout their visit. That’s why we redesigned the site to introduce our team, our services and our previous’ clients experiences. We understand this is far more valuable in the decision making process than special offers on unwanted treatments. Instead, we focus on demonstrating quality in our team, our services and our customer relationships. With new features to make it easier than ever to interact with us, we look forward to meeting new patients.”


About RiverRock DDS: RiverRock DDS focus on providing high quality dental care in a warm, welcoming environment. Dr. Christianson and Dr. Navarro enjoy all aspects of dentistry, including orthodontics, cosmetic, restorative and family dentistry. Their practice in Shakopee, Minnesota offers a warm and welcoming environment in which patients receive the best care available. For more information please visit:

The bad news? Your children can begin getting tooth decay as soon as they have teeth. The good news? Tooth decay is preventable. The key to preventing it is by helping your child to form teeth-healthy habits while they are still young.

When they are a baby, begin cleaning their mouth with gauze or a washcloth. As soon as their teeth begin to appear, you should brush your child’s teeth with an amount of toothpaste the size of a grain of rice. You want to introduce “teeth-brushing” into your child’s routine very early on. Explain the importance of brushing your teeth to your child so they understand why they must do it twice every day.

Once your child reaches age three, you can up the amount of toothpaste to more of a pea sized amount. You should still continue to help your child brush their teeth to ensure they are doing so thoroughly and to ensure they are not swallowing any toothpaste.

Once you are confident that your child can brush their own teeth, you can introduce that possibility. This will be around the same time that your child’s teeth will begin to touch and you will need to begin a flossing routine for them as well.

And of course, don’t forget the dentist checkups. Bring your child into RiverRock Dental at least once each year so either Dr. Todd Christianson or Dr. Nicholas Navarro can make sure your child’s smile is looking bright and healthy.

Developing Healthy Habits The best way to form healthy habits is to begin early. Once you become accustomed to a certain way of life, it will feel natural for you to continue on that path.

This is the approach we, at RiverRock Dental, recommend to you.

Taking care of your teeth to prevent future problems is quite simple. Brush your teeth twice daily, floss once each day, have your teeth cleaned and examined twice a year by your dentist and eat healthy to give your body and teeth the nutrients it needs to strive.

By following each of these simple steps, you can help prevent your teeth from getting cavities, gingivitis, periodontitis and enamel loss.

RiverRock Dental is open Monday through Friday and one evening a week. To schedule an appointment with either Dr. Christianson or Dr. Navarro, just give us a call or click the “Make Appointment” link on our website. We’re here to help you!