Growing up we are taught to brush our teeth twice a day in order to prevent bad breath, cavities, and gum disease. What a lot of people are unaware is the other health conditions that may develop due to poor oral hygiene. Our mouth is the primary gateway into the body, and how bacteria enters. Serious illness can occur if you do not brush and floss regularly because bacteria will build up, and find its way into your bloodstream. Some of the negative consequences and serious health issues that can occur due to bad oral hygiene are:
Not brushing and flossing your teeth can lead to the gum disease gingivitis. When your gums get inflamed due to periodontal disease, the bacteria enters your bloodstream and travels through the arteries. The bacteria causes plaque buildup that hardens in your arteries, causing blockage of blood flow to the heart. This can lead to high blood pressure, a stroke, and even a heart attack.
Dementia & Alzheimer’s
Studies have linked gingivitis to Dementia and Alzheimer’s. The bacteria from the gum disease can enter your brain through nerve channels, or your bloodstream. The brain is then exposed to the bacteria which can lead to nerve cell damage, and kill your brain cells. When your brain nerves are damaged or die, memory loss and early dementia can occur.
Gum disease begins to weaken the body’s ability to adjust the insulin in our body, causing our blood sugar levels to go all over the place. The body is unable to convert sugar into energy, because the body does not use up the insulin. So, your body in the end will have higher than normal blood sugar levels, increasing the risk of diabetes.
Many studies have shown a strong connection between gum disease and cancer. The cancers that are strongly related to gum disease are pancreatic and oropharyngeal. People who are more likely to develop these cancers are those with poor oral health.
An infection in your lungs can occur from the bacteria that enters your body that causes gum disease. You have a higher risk of pneumonia, bronchitis, COPD, and other respiratory infections from the bacteria. This happens because when you have an infection, we breathe in that bacteria from our mouth and into our lungs.
The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society stated that people with gum disease were 4 times more likely to have Rheumatoid Arthritis. This is because the inflammation that occurs from gum disease in the jawbone and teeth is common to RA. The bacteria can cause inflammation throughout the body.
Yes, bad oral hygiene and gum disease can have an effect on a woman’s pregnancy. When you are pregnant, the hormonal changes that occur in your body makes a woman more likely to develop periodontal disease. This disease can reach the baby and has been linked to lower birth weight, and premature births.
In order to prevent gum disease or any of the serious health issues that follow, there are simple steps to take. Remember to brush your teeth in the morning and at night before bed to prevent bacteria from getting in. Flossing once a day can help to remove stubborn pieces of food that get caught in between your teeth that brushing can not get at times. Schedule a dentist appointment every 6 months. And last but not least, avoid smoking and chewing tobacco, and try to have a well balanced diet with limited sugary foods and drinks.
Oral health is more important than we think, so be sure to take care of them and realize the signs when something is wrong. When brushing or flossing, your gums should be pink and not bleed. If it does, make sure to see your dentist right away to make sure there is no infection. Be proactive in order to decrease the risk of something more serious happening.