According to dental studies, roughly one-half of Americans do not floss daily, and one in five patients do not brush their teeth twice a day. However, taking care of your teeth is not just a simple habit that can be eliminated when you don’t feel like doing it. Experts are now suggesting that the mouth is a gateway into your body’s overall health and should be treated as such.
While it is true that there is no direct link showing that poor oral causes disease or illness, there is mounting evidence showing an increasing association between poor dental hygiene and a wide variety of problems. Accordingly, here are 13 other issues that put your body at risk when you do not take proper care of your teeth.
1. Bad breath
Bad breath, affects as much as 65% of the population every day. Moreover, the number one cause of this problem is poor oral hygiene. Food particles from meals can easily collect between teeth and start to smell unless you brush and floss regularly.
2. Tooth loss
American adults between the ages of 20 to 64 have typically lost an average of seven or more permanent teeth by the time they reach retirement. Even worse, 10% of Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 have no teeth left at all. The sad part about these numbers is that the vast majority of tooth loss issues could have been prevented with proper oral hygiene and regular dental care.
3. Gum disease
According to dental experts, more than half of Americans currently have gum disease. Gum disease can make gums red, swollen, and quick-to-bleed. This reaction is part of a response to the bacteria in the plaque that builds up between your teeth and gums if it is not removed regularly.
4. Pregnancy complications
Doctors believe that gum disease affects between 60 to 75% of pregnant women. However, this problem does not just impact the mothers. If pregnant women have dental problems before or during pregnancy, their children are more likely to develop cavities and other serious oral health problems. Poor oral health during pregnancy can also be linked with low birth weight and premature birth.
5. Erectile dysfunction
Patients with poor dental health may not even consider the link, but preliminary research suggests that erectile dysfunction could be associated with poor oral health. Both problems have been initially tied to Vitamin D deficiency, smoking, and general inflammation in the body. In one study, a group of patients was examined between the ages of 30 and 40. 53% of those same patients with erectile dysfunction had severe gum disease.
Researchers are now beginning to discover that improving oral hygiene reduced the incidence of pneumonia by up to 40%. Another study found that patients with gum disease were almost three times more likely to have pneumonia.
7. Brain abscess
Brain abscesses are considered a rare medical condition, but researchers are now finding that a portion of these cases theorized that poor dental hygiene was one of the probable causes.
8. Heart disease
Although many doctors have cautioned that there is no direct link between heart disease and poor oral health, but multiple studies have suggested that there is a connection between gum disease and heart disease. Both conditions are caused by inflammation in the body and one can increase the chances of developing the other if left untreated.
9. Kidney disease
According to medical studies, people with gum disease are 4.5 times more likely to have chronic kidney disease. Adults with all of their teeth missing were also 11 times more likely to have chronic kidney disease.
Dentists have been warning patients for many years that diabetes is a significant risk factor for gum disease. Poor dental health may also be a risk factor for insulin resistance. Conversely, controlling periodontitis may go a long way to improve or control diabetes.
Studies suggest that there may be a link between poor dental health and dementia. Researchers followed 5,468 people for 18 years and found that patients who did not brush their teeth each day had a 22% to 65% greater risk of developing dementia. Additionally, another study found that the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s had more bacteria associated with gum disease than did those who had healthy brain tissues.
In patients with gum disease, doctors often find the same bacteria that are responsible for stomach ulcers. These same bacteria are also a risk factor for stomach cancer.
Preliminary research is suggesting that periodontitis may promote the growth of cancerous cells in oral tissues. Accordingly, doctors have also determined that there is an association between poor oral health and oral cancer. Gum disease and dental problems are also associated with HPV, which causes up to 80 percent of oral cancers.
Schedule Your Appointment Today With Drs. Elam, Vaughan And Fleming
Here at Dentistry of Nashville, we understand how important a healthy smile is to your appearance and your overall health. For this reason, we encourage our patients to visit us regularly and take good care of their mouth at home. Additionally, we are happy to provide our Nashville patients with many wonderful financing options that can help fit dental care and treatment into any patient’s budget. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you get a healthy and beautiful smile, please contact us and schedule your no-obligation consultation with Drs. Elam, Vaughan, and Fleming, today.