Did you know that a good oral hygiene routine protects more than just your smile? It actually protects your whole body and your mind from a variety of medical ailments.
Studies have shown that poor oral health increases your chance of heart disease, stroke, inflammation, and infections. It may also be an indicator of, or even a precursor to, Alzheimer’s or diabetes. One study reported that the average treatment cost of various conditions was up to 73.7% higher for patients with untreated gum disease.
A healthy mouth can prevent serious health conditions and improve your overall health and wellbeing. Learn more about the importance of oral hygiene below.
Oral Health and Infection
Bacteria from oral infections can sometimes spread to other parts of the body. This can make you more prone to infection in general and weaken your body’s ability to fight infections. Some experts say it can also worsen inflammatory symptoms of certain conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis.
Plus, depending on where this bacteria spreads, this can result in some very serious conditions, as you’ll see below.
Oral Health and Heart Disease
One place oral bacteria can spread to is your cardiovascular system. Officially, though, the debate about the link between poor oral health and cardiovascular disease rages on. However, many experts agree there is a clear and definite association between the two.
Many studies suggest that inflammation from gum disease contributes to the development of blocked blood vessels, strokes, and heart attacks. One study found that gum disease increases the risk of heart disease by approximately 20%.
Still, experts are still determining the true nature of this association and whether one is causing the other. But it’s indisputable that some kind of correlation between gum and heart disease has shown up repeatedly in study after study.
Bottom line: good oral hygiene and regular trips to the dentist gives you a statistically smaller chance of heart problems.
Oral Health and Diabetes
Another common correlation that scientists and health officials often see is gum disease and diabetes.
Diabetes can weaken your body’s ability to fight infections like gingivitis. As such, those with diabetes are more likely to develop severe gum disease, which could make it harder to regulate blood sugar levels.
Oral Health and Memory Loss
In another study, poor oral health was associated with a decline in cognitive function. In the middle-aged adults studied, those with poor oral health scored significantly lower on tests of cognitive function.
A different study noted the presence of the bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis in the brain tissue of those with dementia. This same bacteria causes gingivitis.
The study suggests that bacteria from unhealthy gums can enter the brain and cause nerve cell death. This, then, would contribute to or worsen symptoms of dementia.
The Importance of Oral Hygiene
As you can see, the importance of oral hygiene goes way beyond bad breath and cavities. A healthy mouth means a healthy heart, brain, and body. Protect against the conditions above with proper dental hygiene.
Want to know more about the link between oral and overall health? Click here to see more ways Neglecting Your Teeth is Bad For Your Health.