Your mouth is a Petri dish for all kinds of bacteria, so it is essential that you clean properly for more reasons than just whiter teeth. Dentists recommend brushing and flossing day and night for healthy teeth and gums, but the benefits of this habit go beyond just healthy teeth. Good oral hygiene can help you avoid some major health issues, giving you another reason to listen to your dentist. Here are some ways that bad oral health can affect your health.
Decreased Heart Health: Statistically, those who suffer from gum disease are 2 times more likely to have coronary artery disease, are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease, which is damage in the major blood vessels of the heart. Researchers theorize that bacteria from your mouth can worsen and inflame plaque in the heart vessels. This will increase the risk of clots and heart attack.
Memory Loss: There have been studies that link poor oral health with an increased risk for memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. The hypothesis is that oral bacteria can spread infection to the cranial nerves and blood stream and contribute to the brain plaque that causes these cognitive function diseases.
Bad for Your Blood Sugar: It might be that diabetics are more prone to infection, but studies have found that those with diabetes are more likely to have gum disease than those without diabetes. It is unclear whether there is a causal relationship between oral health and diabetes, but one thing is for sure – healthier gums and teeth improve the symptoms of diabetes. As if you needed one more reason to brush!
Bad for Breathing: Bad oral health and hygiene can increase the risk of respiratory infections and worsen the symptoms of infections like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia. The bacteria in your mouth can be inhaled into the lungs and cause inflammation and infection.
Decreased Fertility: Studies have shown that women who had poor oral health had a harder time getting pregnant than those who had healthy teeth and gums. It took women at least a few months longer, and they had a higher risk of miscarriage.
Taking your oral health seriously:
When you brush, you should not find that your teeth or gums bleed. If you brush and floss constantly, and still experience bleeding talk to your dentist about how to brush correctly, or if there may be another cause for the bleeding. Flossing should always be done before you brush, rather than after, to sweep away any gunk you find between the teeth. Brushing should last about 2 whole minutes, and don’t forget to brush your tongue! Make sure you rinse the mouth with water and an oral rinse treatment to kill off any bacteria that is hiding away and you may have missed. Replacing your toothbrush every few months can also help keep good oral care, as the brush can harbor bacteria if left out for too long.