When I was growing up, cleaning one's teeth wasn't given much importance. We had toothpaste, sure, but it wasn't widely available, most of it being imported from Western countries (like soap and other cosmetics). I remember one class fellow using salt, another using coal to clean their teeth. I was in my teens when using toothpaste became common.

I was lucky that I didn't consume as many chocolates and soft drinks as most of my relatives did, so I still have 26 teeth left. But for the past twenty years or so, I have taken good care of my teeth, using dental floss and expensive mouth washes for this purpose.
As I suspected, gum disease (from which I suffered as a child), causes many diseases, particularly those associated with the heart. Now I read that it also causes dementia and Alzheimer's disease, from which the late American president Reagan also suffered. He couldn't recognize his wife towards the end of his life. In fact, he had forgotten his own name.

I hope I don't get senile before I die. Sometimes, I do forget the names of certain people I knew, at other times I can't recall which year a particular event in my life happened. Let's hope I die before I get to the stage where I don't know what's happening around me.