We’re taught from a young age to brush our teeth twice per day — once in the morning and once at night before bed. In doing so, we ensure fresh breath, fewer cavities, and we actively prevent gum disease. However, poor oral health isn’t just about the mouth. Did you know that your oral hygiene can affect the rest of your body? Let’s take a look at how a good oral care routine can help keep every part of your body healthy!
What Health Conditions Does Poor Oral Health Cause?
When you think about poor oral health, what comes to mind? You likely imagine cavities, root canals, and maybe even something simple like bad breath. It’s true that ignoring your morning and nightly routine can lead to all three and more, but sometimes it’s worse. Poor oral health leads to many dire health conditions, such as dementia, erectile dysfunction, and cardiovascular disease.
Poor oral health significantly increases the risk of heart disease. It all starts with inflamed gums. The bacteria that causes your gums to turn red and puff up are the same bacteria that enter the bloodstream and build plaque in the heart. With cardiovascular disease, you’re at higher risk for a heart attack.
There are many substances and forms of bacteria released by inflamed gums that kill brain cells and cause memory loss. It’s common for gingivitis to cause dementia, as the bacteria spreads to the nervous system or enters the bloodstream.
Similarly, the bacteria released from inflamed gums are inhaled into the lungs. Here, the bacteria spreads and infects the walls of the lung. Once there, they can cause respiratory infections, pneumonia, and acute bronchitis.
Erectile dysfunction is a common condition that most men are too embarrassed about to discuss. But did you know that poor oral health can lead to erectile dysfunction? It’s true. Bacteria from the gums enters the bloodstream and leads to inflamed blood vessels that block the flow of blood to the genitals.
Medical Conditions That Affect Your Oral Health
While it’s certainly true that poor oral health can lead to numerous severe medical conditions, it can happen the other way around, too. There are a few concerning diseases that lead to reduced oral health, which in turn leads to the issues listed above.
Diabetes is known to reduce the body’s resistance to infection, putting the gums at risk for gingivitis and other oral infections. This creates a vicious circle. Those with gum disease have difficulty controlling their blood sugar levels, which worsens diabetes.
In patients who have HIV/AIDS, oral health concerns are commonplace. Some such concerns include painful mucosal lesions. Thankfully, treatment for HIV/AIDS has come a long way, and many symptoms are addressed in treatment plans.
Osteoporosis is a common disease that weakens the bone structure. In the mouth, osteoporosis causes bone loss and tooth loss. Even worse is, some of the drugs used to treat the disease carry a risk of damaging the bones in the jaw.
How to Protect Your Oral Health
- Brush your teeth twice per day using a soft-bristled brush.
- Floss once per day.
- Use mouthwash every night to remove excess food particles left behind after brushing.
- Eat a healthy diet and limit your sugar intake.
- Replace your old toothbrush every three months.
- Visit your dentist once or twice per year for regular checkups and cleanings.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of regular trips to the dentist, but we all know even a regular checkup is expensive. Let Health Reform Team connect you with the best dental insurance plans available. Call us at 833-839-2773!