Brushing your teeth not only prevents cavities, but it also can help improve your overall health!
Oral health is about so much more than just the health of the mouth, teeth, and gums. Because the mouth is a primary entryway into the body, poor oral health can have negative consequences for the entire body. Teeth that ache, gums that bleed, and breath that smells bad are all indicators of poor oral health. Bacteria from the mouth can easily get into the bloodstream and cause infection and inflammation wherever it spreads. It is important to practice good oral hygiene and to see a dentist regularly in order to avoid serious risk to the body’s overall health. Learn more
Here are ten serious health problems caused by bad oral health:
1. Heart disease or stroke – People who develop gum disease as a result of poor dental health, have a higher risk of also developing heart disease or stroke. Bacteria in dental plaque and unhealthy gums can cause platelets (tiny clot-triggering cells) in the blood to clump. Clumping leads to clotting, and if a clot ends up in the heart or brain, the result can be a heart attack or stroke. And those individuals who already have existing heart conditions are even more prone to developing endocarditis (an infection of the heart) which can be life threatening.
2. Respiratory disease – The respiratory system can suffer as a result of poor oral health. Bacteria in the mouth from infected teeth and swollen gums can be breathed into the lungs or travel there through the bloodstream. Once there the bacteria can lead to respiratory infections, pneumonia, acute bronchitis, and even COPD.
3. Diabetes – There’s an association with diabetes, too. If gum disease is treated, diabetes is more successfully controlled, which reduces the risk of heart disease. In fact, more than 80 percent of people who have both diabetes and gum disease develop some cardiovascular disease, compared with 20 percent of those diabetic patients who don’t have gum disease.
4. Cancer – Obviously, poor oral health practices such as smoking or using tobacco products can lead to oral and throat cancers, but other types of cancer have also been linked to gum disease. Risk for kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, and blood cancers is much higher for people who have poor oral health.
5. Pregnancy Complications – New research suggests a possible link between gum disease and babies born with low birth weight or premature babies. And optimal oral hygiene during pregnancy may decrease the amount of cavity-causing bacteria that can be transmitted to the new baby.
6. Alzheimer’s – There is current ongoing research that states that the bacteria originating from gum disease can travel to areas of the brain which can trigger Alzheimer’s later in life.
7. Malnutrition – Gum disease and pain can often lead to people not getting the adequate amount of calories and protein needed to maintain a healthy diet. Therefore it is not uncommon for children and elderly to suffer from malnutrition if they are experiencing dental pain.
8. Rheumatoid arthritis – According to the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, people with gum disease were four times more likely to have Rheumatoid Arthritis. Both diseases have inflammation in common. The oral bacteria from gingivitis can increase inflammation throughout the body. This makes the risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis, a painful and debilitating inflammatory disease, much higher.
9. Erectile Dysfunction – Having poor oral hygiene puts a man at an increased risk for suffering from erectile dysfunction. Chronic periodontal disease is known to be related with ED. CPD is an infection that occurs when gums pull away from teeth, which creates pockets that carry bacteria and allows the bug to spread to the bone surrounding teeth. Bacteria from diseased gums can get into the bloodstream and cause blood vessels to become inflamed. This inflammation can block the flow of blood to the genitals, making erections more difficult or even impossible to achieve.
10. Memory Loss – According to studies at West Virginia University, good dentistry may even help senior citizens keep their memory sharp! Poor oral health can affect the brain. Substances that are released from gums inflamed by infection can actually kill brain cells and lead to memory loss. Dementia can result from gingivitis when the bacteria in the mouth spreads to the nerve channels or enters the bloodstream.
So make sure you take care of those pearly whites for a great smile and healthy body! To practice good oral hygiene:
• Brush the teeth and gums for two minutes at least twice a day.
• Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and toothpaste with fluoride (a mineral that helps protect teeth from decay)
• Brush in circles and use short, back-and-forth strokes.
• Don’t forget to brush your tongue.
• Get a new toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. Replace your toothbrush sooner if it’s wearing out.
• Floss the teeth daily.
• Avoid smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco products.
• Use mouthwash products that contain fluoride.
• Limit sugary foods and drinks.
• Eat a well-balanced diet for optimum nutrition. close