Poor Dental Health: More than a Case of Cavities and Bad Breath

Forget not the ToothbrushEveryone knows that poor dental health causes bad breath and tooth decay; what most people are not aware of is that it could also lead to serious health problems.

A growing body of research, supported by dental practitioners from Church Road Dental and Cosmetics, suggests that if you do not take care of your teeth, you will suffer medical conditions far more severe than cavities or stains.

From Toothaches to Heartaches

Poor dental health can increase risk for cardiovascular disease. The bacteria from infected gums and periodontal disease can dislodge, enter the blood stream, and attach to the arteries in the heart. This may lead to hardening of the arteries, a condition medically known as atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis triggers plaque on the inner walls of arteries, which may affect proper blood flow through the body. When this happens, there is a significantly higher risk for heart attack or stroke.

Forget not the Toothbrush

Research suggests a link between oral health and cognitive decline. A specific gum disease bacterium, Porphyromonas gingivalis, may reach the brain through the blood stream or cranial nerves that connect it to the jaw. When this happens, the body prompts the immune system to produce chemicals that may destroy brain cells, resulting in cognitive changes common among Alzheimer’s disease patients.

There is enough evidence to support the idea that regular brushing can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease later in life.

Respiratory

Poor dental health may also lead to respiratory problems. Like how most medical conditions develop, bacteria from gum disease may travel through the airways and enter the lungs.

One study in particular found that the increased alveolar bone loss (or the weakening of the specialised bone structure that supports tooth sockets) in periodontitis may trigger chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Infections like pneumonia are also common conditions, as the bacteria from the mouth may be inhaled into the lungs and cause airways to swell.

Research proves that poor dental health affects overall wellbeing. Bad teeth and gums are not just an issue of tooth decays or bad breath; when bad turns to worse, severe medical conditions may develop.