Studies show importance of a healthy smile

Tiffanie Reynolds, special to wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Your smile affects more than just your first impression.

Studies have shown that bad oral health can lead to more serious problems such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and birth complications, according to a report by Yahoo! Health.

One British Medical Journal study found that adults who don’t brush as much have a 70 percent higher risk for heart disease than those that polish their teeth twice a day.

Columbia University also found a link between periodontal disease and Type 2 diabetes through following 9,296 healthy participants over the course of 20 years. Those that developed higher levels of periodontal disease had twice the risk for Type 2 diabetes.

Some studies are the first of their kind and need more research. But Yahoo says one from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden seems to track with other mouth-to-health findings and shows that women could be as much as 11 times more likely to develop breast cancer if they have gum disease and missing teeth.

Another study from the American Academy of Periodontology says that if pregnant women leave gingivitis untreated, it could lead to periodontal disease, which may create complications like premature births and preeclampsia, a pregnancy-induced high blood pressure that effects both the mother and child.

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