Proper Dental Care = A Healthy Body
Most of us go to the dentist once or twice a year, get our teeth cleaned, occasionally get X-rays, and go on our way–free toothbrush in tow. What might feel like a routine task, however, could mean so much more: An important step towards protecting your long-term health, and even your life.
Here are three ways that dental health can impact your overall well-being:
Poor Dental Health Can Contribute To Heart Disease
According to researchers at the University of North Carolina, people with gum disease are twice as likely to die from a heart attack as those who have healthy teeth and gums.
One theory is that bacteria associated with gum disease (caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar in the teeth) can travel into the bloodstream, and cause blood vessel inflammation and damage. Eventually, tiny blood clots are formed, potentially leading to a heart attack or stroke.
Another theory is that the body’s inflammatory response to gum disease triggers inflammation that can also affect the heart.
In any case, having healthy gums and teeth is critical–especially for those who may be genetically predisposed to heart disease.
Gum Inflammation Can Increase Your Risk Of Developing Alzheimer’s
In a surprising 2010 study, people with gum inflammation were shown to be nine times more likely to score low on cognitive tests. Another study found that one of the main pathogens that cause gum disease was present in the brain tissue of deceased people with Alzheimer’s. The study also identified the DNA of this same bacterium in the spinal fluid of living patients with Alzheimer’s.
Although protecting your oral health can’t necessarily prevent Alzheimer’s, it may reduce your risk of developing this neurodegenerative disease.
Dental Health Is Associated With Healthy Pregnancy
Hormonal changes, as well as changes in diet, may contribute to an increase in gingivitis, which affects nearly 60-75% of pregnant women. And gingivitis–caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth–can lead to periodontitis, a more serious condition in which bacteria can get into the gums and cause an inflammatory response.
Periodontitis has been associated with poor birth outcomes, such as pre-term birth or low birth weight. And, a mother with cavity-causing bacteria in her mouth during and after pregnancy may transfer this same bacteria to the mouth of her child–putting her baby at risk for cavities and poor oral health.
The long and short of it is: Pregnant women should take special care of their oral health, both to protect themselves and their babies.
How To Protect Your Dental Health
To avoid any of the unwanted outcomes above, you’ll want to take special care of your teeth and gums. Here are three foundations to dental health:
– Brush and floss daily. Brushing and flossing daily is critical to keeping your mouth clean and removing disease-causing plaque from your teeth.
– Don’t smoke. Smoking is incredibly damaging to your oral health by contributing to the formation of plaque and tartar. In fact, smokers are 3-6x more likely to develop periodontitis.
– Go to the dentist. You should be visiting the dentist 1-2x a year for a routine check-up, at minimum. In any case, don’t skip this routine because you believe your teeth and gums are in good shape–Going to the dentist is critical for identifying risks proactively and preventing gum disease.
As you’ve just discovered, ignoring your dental health can have dangerous consequences. To protect your well-being, do what it takes to care for your gums and teeth–you’ll thank yourself later on.
About Our Guest Writer:
Kelsey Yarnell, Content Writer. Kelsey writes blogs, articles, and other digital content to help businesses grow. You can check out her site at HTTPS://KELSEYYARNELL.COM/.
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