Flossing and brushing your teeth may do more than just clean your teeth and keep your gums clean–it may also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers from Norway have determined that the bacteria that causes the gum disease gingivitis was found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients and is believed to significantly raise one’s risk of developing the condition.

The bacteria, called gingivitis causes chronic infection in the gums, but can also move to the brain where it can damage nerve cells and eventually lead to loss of memory and ultimately, Alzheimer’s. Circa 50 percent of the population have this bacteria in one form or another and 10 percent of the ones having this bacteria will develop serious gum disease, loose teeth, and have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Luckily, the researchers have also pointed out that in order to significantly reduce your chances of getting dementia later in life, generic measures such as brushing and flossing your teeth and regularly visiting your dentist for check-ups might just do the trick.