Poor Oral Hygiene and the Effect That it Can Have on the Whole Body

Woman brushing teeth

We all know that oral health and hygiene is essential for maintaining strong, healthy teeth and gums – but did you know that neglecting your oral hygiene can have other effects on your overall health and wellbeing as well your mouth?

Poor dental hygiene can lead to tooth decay, bad breath, cavities and gum (periodontal) disease, but what effect can it have on the rest of the body?

 

Gateway to the body

Often referred to as the ‘gateway to the body’, the mouth allows our bodies to take in nourishment and sustenance. Unfortunately, it’s also a place where bacteria can enter our bloodstream through the gums, which can cause bacterial infections and increase the risks of other illnesses such as:

 

Cardiovascular Disease and Strokes

People with poor dental hygiene are twice as likely to develop heart disease and arterial narrowing as a result of bacteria and plaque entering the bloodstream through the gums. Bacterial infections in the bloodstream can travel to the heart, which in turn can affect the heart valves. Bacteria also contains a clot-promoting protein that can clog the arteries increasing the risk of a stroke.

 

Respiratory Illnesses

The bacteria from the mouth can travel through the bloodstream to the lungs, aggravating the respiratory system, especially for people with existing respiratory conditions, like asthma for example. Studies published in the Journal of Periodontology have uncovered links between oral hygiene, periodontal disease and an increased risk of pneumonia and acute bronchitis.

 

Dementia, Alzheimer’s & Memory Loss

Infections in the gums release inflammatory substances which in turn increase brain inflammation that can lead to neuronal (brain cell) death.  Poor dental health is also a risk factor for memory loss. A recent analysis led by NIA scientists suggests that bacteria that cause gum disease are also associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, especially vascular dementia.

 

Diabetes

Dental hygiene for people with diabetes is an important factor and often goes hand in hand. A large percentage of US adults with diabetes also have periodontal disease, some advanced enough that it has led to tooth loss. On one hand, this could be because people with diabetes are more susceptible to contracting infections. On the other hand, periodontal disease may also make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels, which in turn puts the patient at risk of further diabetes complications.

 

Osteoporosis and Bone Loss

Our teeth are supported in their positions by the jaw bones. People with osteoporosis (extremely fragile or less dense bones) often suffer further complications due to poor dental hygiene. Periodontal disease itself can hamper or damage the jaw bones – leading to infections and tooth loss, but osteoporosis can also trigger dental conditions like periodontal disease. Like diabetes, osteoporosis is another condition that works hand in hand with dental hygiene.

 

Keeping on top of your oral health and hygiene is essential, not just to your teeth and gums, but also to the rest of your body. We recommend that you:

 

  • Brush and floss your teeth twice a day
  • Regularly use a bacteria killing mouthwash
  • Avoid cavity producing foods such as sugary treats
  • Avoid tobacco products
  • Make regular visits to your dentist and hygienist.

 

At Dublin Corners Dental we offer a wide range of dental services and our goals are to provide the best care possible.

Call Today to arrange an appointment to start your journey to better oral health and hygiene on (925)875-9292 or Contact Us here.

 

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