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Oct 4, 2010

Put This in Your Mouth to Prevent Neck Cancer

It comes in a small package -- about the size of a matchbox -- and often smells minty fresh. And if you put it in your mouth, it just might save your neck.
The minty little gift in question? Dental floss. New research findings suggest that flossing -- and brushing -- daily could decrease your odds of developing neck cancer.
How Tooth Troubles Hurt
Flossing and brushing are so very good for you because they may help prevent oral diseases that somehow open the door to bad things like cancer. When researchers recently looked at a study sample of people with periodontitis -- a form of gum disease in which the bones that hold the roots of teeth in place start to break down -- they found that for each millimeter of supporting bone that was lost, head and neck cancer risk increased more than fourfold. (Did you know? Having healthy gums could equal a healthy heart, too.)
Not Your Average Gum Disease
Dental experts aren't quite sure of the exact causes of periodontitis. A not-so-clean mouth may not necessarily lead to it, but it can make periodontitis worse. Poor oral hygiene can also lead to another mouth disease called gingivitis, which causes gums to become red, puffy, and tender. So brush and floss daily, and see your dentist regularly. (Choose your foods wisely. Here are the foods that help keep your gums healthy.)

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