Toothaches, bleeding gums, and bad breath are all classic hallmarks of poor oral health. It goes without saying that if you don’t take care of your mouth, your smile will suffer the consequences. But what many people don’t realize is that the consequences of not keeping up with their oral hygiene can spread to the rest of the body if the bacteria in the mouth enter the bloodstream. If you need some extra motivation to visit the dentist for checkups and cleanings, here are 5 serious health problems that have been linked to poor oral health.
1. Heart Problems
You might have heard that gum disease might increase your risk for a heart attack. When the gums are inflamed due to bacterial infection, there’s a chance of harmful organisms getting into the blood vessels. They can end up accumulating on the arteries, causing blood flow problems and blockages – in other words, setting the stage for a heart attack or a stroke. If you want to keep the risk of cardiovascular disease to a minimum, make sure you’re brushing and flossing on a regular basis to protect the gums.
Some of the substances released by inflamed gums have also been found in the brains of patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. There’s evidence to suggest that these substances can kill brain cells, which is what causes memory problems.
3. Respiratory Issues
It’s very easy to breathe in oral bacteria without meaning to, and once they enter the lungs, they can contribute to pneumonia, acute bronchitis, and a wide variety of respiratory infections. This is just one more reason why it’s important to clean your mouth on a regular basis to get rid of harmful substances.
Patients who are diabetic have to be particularly careful when it comes to maintaining good oral health. Diabetes tends to leave you susceptible to infection, which means the odds of gum disease occurring will be much higher. And if that happens, the infection could wreak havoc with your blood sugar levels, making your diabetes even more severe.
Smoking and other kinds of tobacco products are already known to lead to oral cancer, but what you may not have known is that gum disease can be a significant risk factor as well. People with poor oral health are generally more likely to develop cancer of the kidney, pancreas, or blood.
These are just a few examples of serious health issues that might be connected to a problem with your teeth and gums. Fortunately, good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits will go a long way towards keeping your smile happy and healthy – which in turn will help protect the rest of your body!
About the Practice
At Bethel Dental, all of our dentists have completed advanced training so that they can successfully treat the most complex of oral health issues. We are well aware of the connection between a healthy mouth and a healthy body, and we’ll perform our treatments with it in mind. For example, we include an oral cancer screening as part of every regular dental checkup. To schedule your next visit, contact us through our website.