Many celebrities are known for their winning smiles, but flashing those pearly whites sometimes requires a little dental work.
Check out an old picture of Tom Cruise. His two front teeth used to point in different directions and were two different colors — until he got them whitened, straightened, and now, reportedly, topped with veneers.
Of course, how your teeth look doesn't matter to your overall health or longevity if you're not taking good care of your oral health.
Gum disease puts you at increased risk for everything from diabetes to cardiovascular problems to miscarriage for women.
And now research has found that older women with periodontal disease have an increased risk of various cancers.
The study in BMC Oral Health looked at more than 60,000 women from age 54 to 86 and found that those with gum disease were 14 percent more likely to develop cancer than those without it.
For some cancers, the risk was much higher. Women with gum disease were 33 percent more likely to develop esophageal cancer; 73 percent more likely to have gallbladder cancers; 31 percent more likely to have lung tumors; and 23 percent more likely to have melanoma.
The authors think that bacteria from gum infection leads to inflammation, and that makes the body more susceptible to cancer.
So brush after every meal, or at least twice a day, and floss daily.
See your dental professional twice a year. You'll be saving your smile, protecting yourself from several types of cancer.
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