Great Oral Hygiene Could Keep More Than Your Mouth Healthy
You’re probably already aware that having great oral hygiene and taking proper care of your teeth and gums is a vital step in preventing tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. But did you also know that not taking proper care of your oral health can have a direct impact on the rest of your body’s overall health?
It may sound like an obvious statement, but your mouth is connected to the rest of your body and we’re breaking down which health conditions may be directly linked to your dental health.
The Top Health Conditions Connected To Poor Oral Health
Studies have proven that people with bleeding gums from poor dental hygiene could be increasing their risk of developing heart disease. One theory is that when you have bleeding gums, bacteria from the mouth is able to enter the bloodstream and stick to platelets, which can then form blood clots, interrupting the flow of blood to the heart and ultimately triggering a heart attack.
A bacterium called Porphyromonas gingivalis is usually associated with chronic gum disease, and past studies have tried to prove a direct link between patients affected with Alzheimer’s, their brains, and the consistent finding of Porphyromonas gingivitis in these patients. There is sufficient scientific evidence to show that two of the three gum disease-causing bacteria are capable of motion and have been consistently found in brain tissue of those affected with Alzheimer’s.
Reports of strong evidence on a link between gum disease and pancreatic cancer began back in 2007 when the findings of periodontitis, a specific type of gum inflammation, was associated with pancreatic cancer. Research has suggested that there may be a link between high levels of carcinogenic compounds found in the mouths of people with gum disease and pancreatic cancer risk. While this is not an established risk factor, one could assume that gum disease could very well create an environment favorable to the development of pancreatic cancer.
Why Hasn’t There Been a Definitive Gum Disease & Systemic Health Study?
Both gum disease and potentially associated conditions like heart disease are incredibly complex conditions, with so many defining factors. It is difficult to stage a study that is comprehensive enough to deliver a definitive answer, while controlling the necessary variables. But as more and more studies yield an unexplainable gum disease – heart disease connection, researchers continue to explore the reasons for this link.
Knowing Your Risks For Developing Gum Disease
There are certain factors that make you more likely to experience gum disease at some point in your life. While some of these factors are unavoidable, many are completely preventable by taking extra care of your oral hygiene and habits to keep your smile intact and healthy.
The risk factors of gum disease include:
- Genetics – A family history of gum disease makes certain people more likely to develop periodontal disease.
- Age – Being over the age of 65 increases your risks of developing gum disease by as much as 70%.
- Medications – Certain medications like oral contraceptives, antidepressants and certain heart medications can affect your oral health. These types of medications can cause dry mouth and lack of natural saliva which has a direct negative impact on your oral health.
- Poor Nutrition – A diet that’s lacking nutrients can compromise the body’s immune system, making it that much more difficult for your body to fight off infection – including infection in your gums. Research also shows that obesity may increase the risk of periodontal disease.
- Systemic Diseases – Certain health and medical conditions like diabetes, arthritis and heart disease are linked to gum disease.
- Use Of Tobacco Products – If you are someone who uses tobacco products of any kind your risks of developing many serious illnesses such as cancer, lung disease, heart disease, and periodontal disease may be heightened.
Preventing Other Health Conditions By Preventing Gum Disease
It’s a proven fact that certain diseases show up in your mouth first, making your dentist the initial defense against new health problems. While you may not see your physician on a routine basis, scheduling regular dental exams every six months could help you keep not just your teeth and gums healthy, but the rest of your body as well. Do your part by:
- Brushing your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste
- Flossing once a day between your teeth to clean places your toothbrush cannot reach
- Eating a nutrient-rich and balanced diet
- Limiting snacking between meals
- Scheduling regular oral exams and professional cleanings every six months with your dentist
Call Cherrywood Dental today and schedule your next cleaning and exam to determine if you’re at a higher risk of developing periodontal disease.
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Dr. Barzgar is an excellent dentist
Dr. Barzgar was very professional and gentle. When I first came to his office to see Dr. Barzgar I had a major trust issue between dentist and patient from my past experiences. Dr. Barzgar is an excellent dentist, whose priority is making sure his...