The need to take good care of our gums and teeth has been drummed into all of us since childhood; however, most people are clueless about the importance of oral health and how it can impact our lives. It is easy to appreciate that since the mouth acts like a gateway to the rest of the body, infections can travel from the mouth to other parts of the body and expose you to the risk of various diseases and medical conditions. According to Dentistry Today, a whopping 58% of people do not floss at all.
Different Ways in Which Poor Oral Hygiene Can Affect Your Health and Well-Being
Enhanced risk of heart disease and stroke: Doctors say that people suffering from periodontal disease have twice the risk of heart disease due to the narrowing of the arteries by the bacteria entering through the gums and plaque deposits. The bacteria can clog the arteries increasing the risk of a heart attack or a brain stroke.
Loss of memory and onset of dementia: One of the outcomes of poor dental health is the loss of teeth. Researchers have identified links between tooth loss and loss of memory that can progress to dementia. The increase in inflammatory substances in the body due to poor oral health can cause some parts of the brain to die.
Respiratory diseases: Infection-causing bacteria can potentially travel through the circulation system to enter your lungs, damaging your respiratory system, observes Dublin DDS Dr. Pagniano. According to the Journal of Periodontology, persons suffering from dental diseases are often more at risk of respiratory conditions like chronic pneumonia and acute bronchitis.
Increased risk of diabetes: Poor oral health can also make it more difficult to manage diabetes. High blood sugar levels can lead to gum disease, and the inflammation caused by gum disease can make it harder for the body to control blood sugar.
Alzheimer's disease: Some research suggests a link between poor oral health and an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease. The bacteria associated with gum disease may contribute to brain inflammation and damage.
Pregnancy complications: Pregnant women with poor oral health may be at higher risk for preterm labor and low birth weight babies. Research links gum disease to these complications and hormonal changes during pregnancy can make gum disease more likely.
Risk of cancer: Many studies reveal the enhanced cancer risk in persons suffering from periodontal disease. According to researchers, men with gum disease maybe 50% more prone to cancer of the kidneys or pancreas and 30% more likely to be diagnosed with blood cancer.
Other diseases: there is also a large body of evidence linking poor dental hygiene to many other health conditions like erectile dysfunction, infertility, premature birth, etc.
While most people focus on oral and dental hygiene only when afflicted by teeth and gum problems, the increased risk of many other health conditions should be a good reason for everyone to pay more attention to taking good care of their oral health. While good oral hygiene starts with healthy home practices, you also need to visit your doctor regularly for checkups and treatment to prevent issues from becoming serious.