Your dentist has been nagging you to brush twice a day and floss daily for as long as you can remember -- and while those habits, along with regular cleanings, are key components to keeping your teeth and gums healthy, it turns out that how well you take care of your mouth could actually affect your entire body.
"Your mouth is the gateway to your body -- and it's not a very pristine gateway," HuffPost blogger Deepak Chopra wrote on the topic last month. "It's filled with bacteria -- in fact, there are more bacteria living in your mouth than there are people on earth."
In the past month alone, two new studies have come out about the surprising effects of poor oral care on the body as a whole. So we rounded up just a handful of the research out there on this mouth-body connection. Here are a few reasons of why brushing up on oral hygiene may help to keep the rest of your body in shape: