March 19th, 2015
Believe it or not, neglecting your teeth and gums can affect the rest of your body, including your heart, blood, and respiratory system. The mouth is the gateway to the body, and as bacteria builds inside the mouth, it can drastically hurt the rest of your body.
The usual culprit for increasing your risk of other diseases is periodontal (or gum) disease. This is when enough food and sugars collect between your teeth and gums to allow bacteria to thrive. The more the bacteria thrives, the more inflamed your gums become. The inflammation of gums can restrict blood flow and cause further complications in the body.
Here are several ways that bad oral hygiene may affect your body.
Increased Risk of Stroke
Studies have shown people with periodontal disease are more likely to develop heart disease. This is due to bacteria and plaque from the gums entering the bloodstream, which contains a clot-promoting protein. As well, inflammation in the mouth causes inflammation in other blood vessels, adding to the risk.
Increased Risk of Diabetes
The relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease seem to be a two way street. Many people with diabetes will have a harder time fighting gum disease because they are more susceptible to infection.
However, inflammation can also weaken the body’s ability to control its blood sugar. This, in turn, gives you a higher risk of diabetes. The good news is that you can work the relationship to your favor: by controlling one of the issues, you can help bring the other under control.
Increased Risk of Dementia
There may be a relationship between gum disease and tooth loss, and your risk of dementia and early stage Alzheimer’s disease. The relationship is due to the infections in the gums that release inflammatory substances that can affect the inflammation of the brain, causing neuronal (brain cell) death.
Increased Risk of Cancer
A study recently showed that men with gum disease had increased chances of developing kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, and blood cancer. Some increased by 50% or more. As well, bad oral hygiene is directly attributed to oral cancers.
Other Potential Risks
Linking periodontal disease with other issues is a relatively new practice. Doctors are making strides in finding more connections that can help people understand the importance of good oral hygiene. Other potential risks being considered include:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Lung Conditions including pneumonia and pulmonary disease
Of course, all of these diseases can be caused by a lot more than just bad oral hygiene. But if keeping your teeth clean, flossing, brushing, and visiting a dentist on a regular basis can help decrease your risk of having these diseases, it seems like a no-brainer that you should take care of your teeth.
If you have any more questions about how to help prevent periodontal disease and keep your teeth under proper care, contact Water Tower Dental today, Chicago’s #1 rated dentist office.