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If you want to keep yourself from becoming a shut-in, you better brush your teeth!

The continuous rise of hikikomori in Japan is cause for grave concern. The term is used to describe people who desperately avoid social interaction and stay in their homes for long periods of time. Hoping to study why there are more and more cases all over Japan, numerous universities have conducted studies on the phenomenon. Tohoku University released the results of their new study that detailed one particular factor that might increase the chance of someone becoming hikikomori.

6753670017_550f65e108_oFlickr/Kathy McGraw

The conclusion they published for an increased risk factor in hikikomori was old people with few teeth. That’s a pretty weird but specific reason, but apparently the data substantiates the claim. According to their four year study of 4,390 people in Aichi Prefecture who were 65 and over, the percentage of participants who didn’t leave their house even once during the week for those with 20 or more teeth was 4.4 percent. For those with 19 teeth or fewer but used dentures was 8.8 percent, while those with less than 20 teeth and didn’t use dentures was 9.7 percent. In fact, according to their data, when adjusted for age and general income, those who don’t use dentures and have less than 20 teeth can be one to 78 times more likely to be hikikomori. Their reasoning seems pretty simple: If the condition of your teeth is poor then you are more likely to not want to talk or eat with people. Thus it decreases the chances of you leaving the house.

teeth 2Flickr/Dee’lite

All scientific studies should be taken with a grain of salt until they can be verified through a replication study, but if this is true, it seems as good of a reason as any for people in Japan to start paying a bit more attention to their teeth!

Dentists all over Japan rejoice!

teeth 1Flickr/Rick Cogley

All parents want to do what is best for their children, and if it means furiously adhering to recommended oral hygiene regimens to ensure their offspring are productive members of society, then, by golly, they better grab some floss!

Source: Yahoo! Japan News
Top image: Flickr/Peter Fleck