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PEMBROKE PINES, FL - JANUARY 12: David Gikovatyi, the Denture lab manager, works on a new set of dentures at the Affordable Dentures lab on January 12, 2009 in Pembroke Pines, Florida. Statistics show that the number of people loosing all their teeth has declined 60 percent in the United States since 1960. The reduction is attributed to the program of fluoridation begun in the 1940s as well as education on proactive dental hygiene. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Slacking on personal grooming? Just don’t let it happen in your mouth. Brushing, swishing and flossing are already part of your daily to-dos, but new research shows just how crucial those steps are to our overall health. It turns out, good oral hygiene can prevent cancer from spreading in our bodies.

Scientists have found that the spread of cancerous cells – or metastasis [[meh-TAS-tuh-sis]] – is what causes 90% of cancer deaths. And after the discovery that a common mouth germ can help spread cancer around to other parts of the body, three studies are looking at the relationship between the certain germs and colon cancer. Biochemist David Slade with Virginia Tech was involved in one of those studies – which found that colon cancer cells that were “invaded” by a specific germ became inflamed and that inflammation then caused the cells to move in the body.

The findings are especially concerning because colorectal cancer is now second only to lung cancer for the deadliest type of cancer in the world. Other research has linked the germ to other types of cancer, including lung, breast, and pancreas. And according to Slade, gum disease impacts other health conditions as well, he explains that a link has been found between gum disease and illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. All the more reason to invest in your brushing, flossing and gargling.