Newsletter: 5 Ways Poor Dental Health Makes You Sick
It May Hurt Your Heart
People with gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease compared to those who don’t have periodontitis. Researchers believe that harmful bacteria from your mouth enters your bloodstream and attaches to fatty plaques in your heart’s blood vessels, leading to inflammation and upping your risk of clots that can trigger heart attacks.
Your Memory May Suffer
Research suggests there may be a link between poor oral health and an increased risk of dementia. One study that followed 118 nuns between the ages of 75 and 98 found that those with the fewest teeth were most likely to suffer dementia. Experts think oral bacteria may spread to the brain through cranial nerves that connect to the jaw or through the bloodstream, and may contribute to the type of plaque that has been linked to Alzheimer’s.
It Might Worsen Your Body’s Control of Blood Sugar
People with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease than those without diabetes. While this may be because diabetics are more susceptible to infections, there has also been research that finds gum disease could make it harder to contol your blood sugar, and that treating it helps improve diabetes symptoms.
It May Affect Your Breathing
Periodontal disease may increase your risk of getting respiratory infections, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and pneumonia, according to the Journal of Periodontology. The infections might be caused when bacteria from the mouth are inhaled into your lungs, possibly causing your airways to become inflamed.
It Could Make It Harder For You to Have a Baby
Women of childbearing age with gum disease took an average of just over seven months to become pregnant–two months longer than the average for women without gum disease, discovered researchers in Western Australia. Other research finds that pregnant women with periodontitis might have higher odds of miscarriage, premature births and lower birth weight.
So What Does This Mean? What Can I Do?
The best cure for poor dental health is through prevention. Regular brushing (of two minutes or longer) at least twice a day, daily flossing, eating and drinking healthy foods and beverages, and regular visits to your dentist for professional cleanings will help remove and control the dangerous bacteria that forms plaque. Once plaque has accumulated it can only be removed by professional cleaning, but once tartar and calculus free, a few minutes of attention to your mouth, gums and teeth each day can help you control plaque and maintain your overall health.
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