Inside your mouth right now are 700 species of mouth-dwelling microbes. The number of bacteria inside your mouth right now may equal the population of the earth.
So when was the last time you brushed your teeth? Or worse, when was the last time you bothered to floss?
Talking to students, we found that most brush their teeth at least twice a day, but for many, flossing is not a part of their dental routine. Keene State College sophomore Nicole Maccarrone stated she rarely flosses.
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“I don’t floss, unless I go to the dentist,” she said. However, flossing is a vital componant of keeping not only your mouth clean, but maintaining an overall healthier you. Recent studies show poor dental health is linked to heart attacks, strokes, and other heart disease conditions.
According to Sally Cram, a spokeswoman for the American Dental Association, poor attention to your teeth and mouth can result in more serious problems than bad breath.
“There are a lot of studies that suggest that oral health, and gum disease in particular, are related to serious conditions like heart disease,” Cram stated.
However, many students remain unaware of how important it is to take the time to floss and brush daily.
Sophomore Steven Mignano said he brushes his teeth twice a day.
“My mouth feels nasty in the morning,” he said. He brushes for a second time at the end of the day because “By then I’ve been through an entire day. If you have a nasty mouth, it’s there all day.”
Mignano said he doesn’t believe dental health affects anything else besides the mouth.
“I don’t feel like brushing your teeth links to your overall health. But it is a factor that you can control yourself,” Mignano said.
Mignano is right; if you can have some control over managing a daily brushing routine, you can be one step ahead of the curve.
Emileigh Liebetruth, a senior, said she brushes her teeth two times per day, but on average, attempts to clean three times a day. She said her brushing habits result from a lack of feeling clean. “The water here doesn’t make my mouth feel clean,” she continued, “Sometime I brush when I’m stressed. When my mouth feels dirty, the rest of me feels low and down.”
Similarly, senior Torri Haddad said a clean mouth translates to a clean body.
“If I see someone with nasty teeth, I assume the rest of them isn’t taken care of,” she said.
Haddad said she uses a flossing tooth, making flossing more accessible and less of a chore.
For many, teeth brushing and flossing can go overlooked because for some students, it really does become a chore.
But if you skip out on your chores, the consequences, as stated, could be huge.
According to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, “The signs and symptoms of many potentially life threathening diseases appear in the mouth first.”
Numerous research has shown a link between heart diseas and key bacteria in periodontal disease.
Diabetes has also shown a connection to periodontal disease.
Also from the ADHA, “Periodontal [disease] has long been considered a major complication of diebeties. Approximately 95 percent of Americans who have diebeties also have periodontal disease, and research shows that people with periodontal disease have more difficulty controlling their blood sugar level.”
In order to minimize the risks of improper care of your teeth, we offer this quick list of tips to make your routine easier and less burdensome.
Julie Conlon can be contacted at
Sam Norton can be contacted at