This is actually pretty shocking: Swedish scientists are claiming that people who don't brush their teeth properly have a higher risk of dying prematurely from cancer. It's not like I don't know how to brush my teeth the correct way, but I must say I'm not the strictest of persons when it comes to dental hygiene. I mean I brush my teeth at least twice a day, but I'm a bit lazy when it comes to flossing every day. 

The main problem is with plaque—that nasty stuff that builds up on your teeth and is full of bacteria —according to the findings published in the BMJ Open online journal. 

Read more in ¿Qué más?: Was your father older? You may live longer

The study followed 1,400 people in Stockholm between 1985 and 2009 and found that the 35 participants who died of cancer during that period had higher levels of plaque than those who survived. The deaths of these participants were considered premature because the average age for women was 61 and for men was 60. Both genders would have been expected to leave at least 8 more years.

Although researchers agree that further studies need to be done to prove that dental plaque causes cancer, they concluded that poor mouth hygiene is associated with increased cancer mortality. 

I know there's no need to freak out, but I have to admit that reading about this study made me realize--one more time--that I truly need to pay better attention to my teeth. In fact, I should probably stop writing and go make an appointment for a cleaning. While it hasn't been a year yet, it's definitely been more than six months. And although I hate getting them, it's just another remainder that I need to take better care of my mouth. 

How well do you take care of your teeth? Leave us a comment with your thoughts. 

Image via mbsurf/flickr

About the author

Roxana A. Soto is Features Editor for MamásLatinas. She's a bilingual and bicultural journalist born in Peru and raised in Mexico, Argentina, South Africa and Miami. She's also mom to a girl in 3rd grade and a boy in Kinder. She loves books, languages, traveling and good food – especially when cooked by someone else.

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