Maintaining good oral health is very important, but for more reasons than you might think. Since the mouth is the “gateway to the body,” bacteria in the mouth can hurt your overall health on an individual basis.
Brushing and flossing the teeth at least twice a day is recommended for good oral health. Besides avoiding certain foods that cause cavities. Dentists recommend avoiding tobacco products and sugary treats. In addition to seeing your dentist (every six months is recommended). You should also consult your oral health professional.
TOOTH DECAY AND CAVITIES
Poor dental hygiene can lead to cavities and tooth decay. Adults can also get cavities, contrary to what you might think. Enamel covers the outside of the tooth, creating a hard outer layer. Throughout the day, a thin film of bacteria (dental plaque) builds up on the teeth, causing them to produce bacteria. These bacteria can eat away at the teeth’s enamel if not removed.
Although brushing and flossing can prevent decay, a dentist must fill a cavity once it has formed.
Poor dental hygiene can result in gum disease as well. Infections can occur when plaque accumulates along and under the gum line, causing damage to the gums and the bone supporting the teeth. The most serious type of gum disease is periodontitis. There is a risk of bone deterioration, in this case, resulting in tooth loss.
In addition to affecting your dental health, poor dental health can harm your social life as well. Bacteria and hydrogen sulfide accumulate between the teeth when food particles are stuck. This sulfide is what makes rotten eggs smell so bad.
The importance of good dental health extends beyond your teeth, gums, and breath. You may not be aware of the serious health problems that bacteria can cause throughout the body.
HEART DISEASE AND STROKE RISK
A person with periodontal disease is twice as likely to develop heart disease. This is due to bacteria and plaque entering the bloodstream through the gums. An increase in heart attack risk is associated with clot-promoting proteins present in bacteria.
Periodontal disease can also contribute to the risk of arterial narrowing. This can happen due to the clot-promoting bacteria settling into arteries. These bacteria then develop a film over arteries that narrows the lining.
Periodontal disease-causing bacteria from the mouth can block the carotid artery. Thereby increasing the risk of stroke.
RISK OF DEMENTIA AND MEMORY PROBLEMS
Tooth loss is linked to early Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss. Researchers found that gum infections release inflammatory substances that cause brain inflammation. This can lead to neuronal death. As neurons can’t regenerate, this can lead to memory problems.
Periodontal disease bacteria can travel to the lungs through the bloodstream. This can aggravate the respiratory system.
Researchers from the Journal of Periodontology show a link between gum disease, pneumonia, and acute bronchitis. Since it is very easy for these bacteria to settle into the narrow bronchi of the lungs, they can cause acute bronchitis. This can also lead to pneumonia which can become fatal.
Ninety-five percent of US adults with diabetes have periodontitis. And one-third have advanced periodontitis that has caused tooth loss. These numbers are likely due to diabetes’ tendency to lead to infections. In terms of gum disease and diabetes, there appears to be a reciprocal relationship.
Periodontal disease, along with diabetes, may make controlling blood sugar more difficult. This can place the patient at an increased risk of high blood sugar.
In men with periodontal disease, erectile dysfunction is seven times more likely than in men with good oral hygiene.
Inflamed blood vessels and blocked flow to the genitals can occur when bacteria travel through the bloodstream. These bacteria settle there and weaken the blood vessels responsible for erectile function. Therefore maintaining good oral hygiene is very important for a normal sexual drive.
RISK OF PREMATURE BIRTH
Around 13% of babies in the US are born prematurely, according to March of Dimes. There are a lot of medical problems for premature babies, like breathing problems. Mothers’ dental health can influence that, too. A lot of preterm births are caused by mother’s body infections. The mouth is a common site for infection.
Among pregnant women, the use of a non-alcohol antimicrobial mouth rinse was associated with a decreased rate of delivering babies. This study was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. There’s a theory that bacteria-killing mouthwash could help reduce gum-disease-induced inflammation.
Taking care of your dental hygiene is very important if you want to avoid the risk of these diseases. Make sure to follow up with your dentist and check for any tooth decay or gum disease.
The earlier you start taking care, the better it will be for your health in general.