People practice good oral hygiene to prevent tooth decay, maintain a healthy, white smile, and keep their breath smelling fresh. However, the problem with poor oral hygiene goes far beyond tooth decay and bad breath — it can have a huge impact on your overall health. Although children are more likely to have tooth decay, adults are also equally at risk. Caring for your teeth and gums must be a crucial part of your day-to-day dental routine and a lifelong habit that should be rooted in early childhood.
Your Mouth as the Mirror of Your Overall Health
Not brushing and flossing your teeth regularly can wreak havoc on your mouth, teeth, and gums. Among its most serious consequences is gum disease.
Daily brushing and flossing help prevent harmful bacteria from forming a sticky layer of plaque on and between your teeth. When you fail to brush and floss, plaque can harden and turns into tartar. The plaque and tartar on your teeth are harmful elements that cause gum inflammation as gingivitis, a condition characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily. Since the mouth is considered as the primary entryway into the body, the bacteria from the gum infection can easily get into the bloodstream, causing infection and inflammation in other parts of the body.
Possible Effects of Poor Oral Health on the Body
Neglecting your oral health could result in a variety of health problems, including:
- Cardiovascular Disease
When the bacteria that cause gum inflammation and periodontal disease enter the bloodstream, they can travel to the arteries in the heart, causing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Atherosclerosis causes the formation of plaque on the inner walls of the arteries. This eventually results in blood flow issues and heart blockages, which can increase the risk of having a heart attack. Also, its damaging effects on the arteries and blood vessels could cause hypertension and raises the likelihood of stroke in the future. Atherosclerosis could also cause infection and inflammation of the inner lining of the heart known as endocarditis.
Various studies claimed that poor oral health can increase the risk of dementia by 65%. The bacteria from the inflamed gums can enter the brain by travelling through the nerve channels in the head or through the bloodstream.
- Respiratory Infections
In addition to getting into the bloodstream, breathing in the bacteria from infected teeth or diseased gums could cause infections in your lungs, including pneumonia, acute bronchitis, and even chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
- Diabetes Complications
Diabetic individuals are more likely at risk of developing gum disease due to the body’s reduced resistance to infection. Difficulty controlling the sugar level could eventually result in a more serious form of gum infections called periodontal disease. That is why diabetics must take extra care of their oral health to prevent complications.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
Both gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis are characterized by inflammation. The bacteria that causes gingivitis can potentially put the different parts of the body at risk of inflammation. Having gum disease can increase your risk of rheumatoid arthritis by 4 times.
- Pregnancy Complications
Practicing good oral hygiene is a must for expectant mothers. The risk of oral infection is much higher during the pregnancy period as the body undergoes drastic hormonal changes. Catching infection during the pregnancy period increases potential complications, including periodontitis and gingivitis. These oral health problems can lead to premature birth and low birth weight in infants, and other serious health problems.
- Kidney Disease
Periodontal disease can potentially lead to chronic kidney disease, a serious health problem that affects different vital organs, including the kidneys, bones, heart, and blood pressure. Additionally, gum disease can make the immune system weaker, which makes you likely to acquire infections. If not treated immediately, kidney disease can lead to other fatal conditions, such as kidney failure or cardiovascular disease.
- Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction is a common health problem in men with poor oral hygiene. Chronic periodontal disease is associated with erectile dysfunction. Chronic periodontal disease is a type of gum infection that causes the gum to pull away from the teeth, creating tiny pockets where bacteria can thrive. This enables harmful bacteria to spread to the bone surrounding the teeth and get into the blood and cause blood vessel inflammation. This can block the blood flow to the genitals, causing erections difficult or even impossible to achieve.
- Infertility (in Women)
Various studies have linked poor oral health with infertility in women. A woman with gum disease may be exposed to health problems, which makes conceiving and sustaining a healthy pregnancy more difficult. Also, a woman with gum disease due to poor oral health may take longer to get pregnant than it would for a woman who practices proper dental health.
The effects of poor hygiene on your overall health can be far-reaching. The most effective defence you can do to protect yourself is following the oral hygiene tips proven by dental health professionals.
Oral Hygiene Importance and Guidelines
The message is clear: practicing good dental hygiene can help protect your dental health in many ways you might never have thought of before. It starts with parents encouraging children to observe good dental habits. However, it’s not too late to learn proper dental habits.
- Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste 2 times daily.
- Floss in between their teeth.
- Rinse your mouth with therapeutic mouthwash to eliminate plaque-causing bacteria that could cause serious gum infections and disease.
- Visit your dentist regularly for professional teeth cleaning, prevention, and treatment of dental health issues.
Practicing good dental care keeps more than your mouth, teeth, and gums healthy — it also helps save lives by preventing serious health illnesses.
Invest in your overall wellbeing by taking good care of your dental health through proper oral hygiene. At Simcoe Smile Dental, we provide comprehensive dental care services your family deserves. In addition to our general family dentistry, we also have an amazing team skilled in the art of enhancing your smile through our cosmetic dentistry and Invisalign orthodontics services.
To book an appointment in our dental office in Oshawa, give us a call at (905) 728-2321. We are not just here to treat and enhance your smile; Simcoe Smile Dental is here to educate you, especially about oral hygiene facts.