Holly C. Corbett, Prevention
Thu, Dec 08, 2011
Even if you brush your teeth daily, you may still have dangerous bacteria growing inside your mouth. Not only could that lead to periodontitis (an advanced form of gum disease that comes with symptoms such as bleeding when you brush and gum pain), but studies also find a link between poor oral hygiene and major health issues. Here are some ways that missing the mark on oral care could harm your heath.
1. It may hurt your heart.
People with gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease compared to those don't have periodontitis. Researchers aren't exactly sure of why this might be, but one theory is that harmful bacteria from your mouth enters your blood stream and attaches to fatty plaques in your heart's blood vessels, leading to inflammation and upping your risk of clots that can trigger heart attacks.
2. Your memory may suffer.
Some research suggests there may be a tie between poor oral health and an increased risk of dementia. One study that followed 118 nuns between the ages of 75 and 98 found that those with the fewest teeth were most likely to suffer dementia. Experts think oral bacteria may spread to the brain through cranial nerves that connect to the jaw or through the bloodstream, and may contribute to the type of plaque that's been linked to Alzheimer's.
3. It might worsen your body's control of blood sugar.
People with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease than those without diabetes. While this may be because diabetics are more susceptible to infections, there's also been research that finds gum disease could make it harder to control your blood sugar, and that treating it helps improve diabetes symptoms.
4. It may affect your breathing.
Gum disease may increase your risk of getting respiratory infections, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia,...