You already know that proper at-home oral care and seeing a local dentist twice a year is important for the health of your teeth, but did you know that poor oral health can lead to complications in other parts of the body? Learn about the dangers that await if you choose to ditch the dentist, toss the toothbrush, or forget the floss.
Tooth Plaque May Lead to Arterial Plaque
Several studies have shown a link between gum disease and cardiovascular disease. The bacteria and plaque that build up along the gum line can make their way into the blood stream, leading to increased inflammation and plaque accumulation in the arteries. Oral bacteria can also contribute to endocarditis, an infection of the lining of the heart.
Healthy Teeth, Healthy Brain
You might be surprised to learn that poor dental health is linked to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Porphyromonas gingivalis, a bacteria associated with gum disease, has been found in the brains of patients with dementia. Researchers theorize that the body’s immune response to this bacteria’s presence in the brain may result in nerve cell death that ultimately leads to memory loss.
Dental Health and Diabetes
Bacterial build-up and inflammation in the mouth and gums can make it more difficult for the body to control blood glucose levels. This can contribute to the onset of diabetes or make the disease more difficult to control for those who are already diabetic. Diabetes also contributes to dental disease due to excess sugars in the saliva, which means that dental neglect can quickly turn into a vicious cycle for diabetics.
Oral Bacteria Can Infect Your Lungs
Periodontal disease is known to increase the risk of respiratory infections. Bacteria from the mouth make their way into the lower respiratory tract through the normal process of inhalation. When these bacteria take hold and proliferate in the lungs, infections like pneumonia and COPD can occur.
Dental Care for Two
Any infection in an expectant mother can complicate her pregnancy and lead to problems like low birth weight and premature birth. It’s important to keep up with regular dental cleanings and exams during pregnancy. Hormonal changes and extra nutritional needs during pregnancy also make teeth more vulnerable to bacterial growth and cavities.
Now that you know all the risks of neglecting your teeth and gums, don’t forget to schedule an appointment with your dentist for a cleaning and check-up. Your life may depend on it!
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