Although brushing and flossing are effective ways to take care of your teeth, a regular visit to the dentist can save you the trouble of advanced dental complications and health problems. Poor dental care not only causes cavities but can have adverse effects on your health and well-being.
Apart from affecting your teeth and gums, poor oral hygiene can also affect your heart, lungs, memory and blood sugar. Avoid sugary drinks, alcohol, and tobacco, and ensure that you keep your mouth clean especially if you are pregnant or diabetic.
Ways Poor Dental Care Can Affect Your Health
Here are the 5 health effects of poor oral hygiene:
1. Works Against Your Heart Health
Periodontal disease can increase the risk of developing a coronary heart disease and worsen the existing heart conditions. Although the exact causal factor is unknown, the oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream and attaches to the fatty plaque in the blood vessels, which leads to the clot formation. This clot formation in the arteries can also cause a heart attack as the normal blood flow is obstructed due to the thickened arteries. If you have a periodontal disease, you are at a greater risk of heart diseases as compared to people without a periodontal disease. 1 2
However, inflammation due to gum disease can also be the reason for a heart disease. Inflammation causes plaque buildup that causes swelling of the arteries. Periodontal diseases, including periodontitis and gingivitis, is also a risk factor for stroke.3
2. Leaves You Vulnerable To Diabetic Complications
Poor dental care leads to oral infections that can increase the severity of diabetes by increasing blood sugar levels, leading to further diabetic complications. If you have diabetes, you are at a greater risk of periodontal disease. This makes it more important for you to maintain your oral hygiene.4 The two factors to blame are thickened arteries and bacteria. The bacteria feed on glucose, which causes bacteria in the mouth to grow, in turn leading to gum diseases.
The two factors to blame are thickened arteries and bacteria. The bacteria feed on glucose, which causes bacteria in the mouth to grow, in turn leading to gum diseases.
3. Puts You At A Higher Risk Of Dementia
Dementia is a condition that shows a group of symptoms caused by a decline of brain’s abilities and functions. It affects memory, mental agility, language, and understanding.5 A study found that people whose teeth were removed due to poor dental health were seen to be at a greater risk of dementia. Also, those with fewer teeth had a higher incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.6
Not maintaining good oral hygiene can lead to tooth loss, which is linked to cognitive impairment. Furthermore, periodontitis is characterized by inflammation that is linked to Alzheimer’s disease.7
4. Makes You Susceptible To Respiratory Infections
Poor dental care causes plaque that releases bacteria or oral pathogens into the saliva. If this is aspirated into the lungs, it leads to bacterial pneumonia.8
Salivary enzymes associated with periodontal disease can modify the mucosal surfaces of the respiratory tract. This modification causes the respiratory pathogens to stick to the tract and grow, and with breathing, they may enter the lungs thereby causing an infection. Also, enzymes from respiratory pathogens may destroy the salivary film that protects against pathogenic bacteria, increasing your susceptibility to infections. .9
5. Increases The Likelihood Of Preterm Births
Gum diseases can lead to preterm births and complications in pregnancy.10 Bacteria can be transmitted to the unborn child through the blood and amniotic fluid. This can increase the risk of preterm births, infections in the newborn baby, low birth-weight, and premature onset of contractions.11
Poor oral hygiene can also be associated with miscarriage due to the inflammatory response to oral bacterial infection.12
|↑1||Mathews, Marc J., Edward H. Mathews, and George E. Mathews. “Oral health and coronary heart disease.” BMC oral health 16, no. 1 (2016): 122.|
|↑2||Perricone Nicholas. Dr. Perricone’s 7 Secrets to Beauty, Health, and Longevity. Random House Publishing Group, 2006.|
|↑3||Grau, Armin J., Heiko Becher, Christoph M. Ziegler, Christoph Lichy, Florian Buggle, Claudia Kaiser, Rainer Lutz, Stefan Bültmann, Michael Preusch, and Christof E. Dörfer. “Periodontal disease as a risk factor for ischemic stroke.” Stroke 35, no. 2 (2004): 496-501.|
|↑4||Grossi, Sara G., and Robert J. Genco. “Periodontal disease and diabetes mellitus: a two-way relationship.” Annals of periodontology 3, no. 1 (1998): 51-61.|
|↑5||About dementia. National Health Services.|
|↑6||Okamoto, Nozomi, Masayuki Morikawa, Kensuke Okamoto, Noboru Habu, Junko Iwamoto, Kimiko Tomioka, Keigo Saeki, Motokazu Yanagi, Nobuko Amano, and Norio Kurumatani. “Relationship of tooth loss to mild memory impairment and cognitive impairment: findings from the fujiwara-kyo study.” Behavioral and Brain Functions 6, no. 1 (2010): 77.|
|↑7||Abbayya, Keshava, Nagraj Y. Puthanakar, Sanjay Naduwinmani, and Y. S. Chidambar. “Association between periodontitis and Alzheimer’s disease.” North American journal of medical sciences 7, no. 6 (2015): 241.|
|↑8||Mojon, Philippe. “Oral health and respiratory infection.” Journal-Canadian Dental Association 68, no. 6 (2002): 340-345.|
|↑9||Gomes-Filho, Isaac S., Johelle S. Passos, and Simone Seixas da Cruz. “Respiratory disease and the role of oral bacteria.” Journal of oral microbiology 2, no. 1 (2010): 5811.|
|↑10||Bobetsis, Yiorgos A., Silvana P. Barros, and Steven Offenbacher. “Exploring the relationship between periodontal disease and pregnancy complications.” The Journal of the American Dental Association 137 (2006): S7-S13.|
|↑11||Silk, Hugh, Alan B. Douglass, Joanna M. Douglass, and Laura Silk. “Oral health during pregnancy.” American Family Physician 77, no. 8 (2008).|
|↑12||Augustin Goran. Acute Abdomen During Pregnancy. Springer, 2014.|