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Gingivitis, Plaque and Your Health: The Hidden Dangers Starting in Your Mouth

Eating a healthy diet and exercising are not the only things you can do to ensure you have good health. Brushing your teeth can be just as important as running on a cardio machine or eating a healthy diet.

Reports suggest that half of older Americans skip going to the dentist.

But that bacterial plaque that sticks to your teeth and builds up over time will do more than impact your dental health. Experts suggest that the plaque buildup can cause:

Heart Attacks

An enigma of sorts, the inflammation and bacteria in a person’s mouth has been linked to heart attacks. Links between heart disease and periodontal disease have been established, but scientists are still trying to determine why.

A common thought is that the bacteria in a person’s mouth escapes into the bloodstream.

If this is the case, the bacteria will lead to the major organs being injured – never a good thing. But there’s also evidence that the inflammation in the mouth may traverse to other areas of the body.

What does this mean?

Inflammation in the mouth may lead to rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease – both impacted by inflammation.


Old age and dementia are two very scary prospects. No one wants to exhibit the signs of dementia, yet there has been a link found between gum disease and dementia. There’s also some evidence that gum disease may impact:

  • Memory
  • Calculation speeds

Mild cognitive impairment is also noted. Studies done on gum disease and its impact on the brain have also found that participants with the worst forms of gum disease scored lower on memory and calculation tests.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune disease. The disease is associated with painful joints and inflammation. Studies show that people with RA have a higher risk of having periodontal disease.

One study also linked missing teeth to a higher risk of RA.

Chronic inflammation is a key contributor to the condition. Another interesting study found that after a person had their periodontal disease treated, they suffered less from:

  • Morning stiffness
  • Pain
  • Swelling

Effectively, a person with periodontal disease will, at the very least, increase their risk of suffering from RA or the symptoms that it causes.

High dental costs are the main contributing factor behind older adults not having dental work done. “Dental discount plans are the best alternative to dental insurance,” states Dr. Zachary from Authority Dental.

There are also options to secure dental loans, finance dental work or take out dental insurance.

The lack of proper dental insurance in the United States is another concern. A lot of insurers lack proper insurance options for dental work, and with many providing $1,500 as a limit for dental work, many adults can’t have serious dental work performed, such as a root canal – which averages $700 – $1,200 – when additional work is needed.

Proper brushing habits, teeth cleaning and having decaying teeth cleaned and repaired can go a long way in ensuring that a person increases their health and lowers their risk of gum disease.