As your trusted Beaverton family dentist, Dr. Richard Barrett wants to stress the importance of treating your oral health with just as much care as your overall health. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t brush or floss frequently enough to lower their risk of serious disease, nor do they schedule enough regular dental checkups and cleanings. If you don’t consider your oral health a top priority, you’re probably unaware of the potential damage gum disease and tooth decay can do to your body. There are a variety of reasons patients neglect their oral health, but there are far more reasons why you shouldn’t.
Hopefully understanding why proper oral hygiene is so important to your health will provide you the motivation necessary to make caring for your teeth and gums a top priority.
Here are a few reasons why you cannot afford to ignore your oral health.
Risk of Stroke and Heart Disease
Individuals who suffer from periodontal disease – a severe form of gum disease – have twice the risk of developing heart disease, according to several studies. The elevated risk can lead to the narrowing of the arteries that allows plaque and bacteria to travel through your mouth and gums into the bloodstream.
This harmful bacteria contains protein that causes blood clots to develop that can also clog arteries, which significantly increases your risk of a heart attack. Oral bacteria that travels to the arteries of your heart also has the ability to clog arteries that carry blood to the brain, which increases your risk of stroke, as well.
Risk of Dementia
Early tooth loss and poor oral health have also been linked to the early onset of memory loss in adults. Additionally, studies have found that poor oral health increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Inflammation of gum tissue caused by infection can also cause inflammation in the brain and the death of certain brain cells.
The bacteria that causes gum disease to develop has the ability to travel through the bloodstream to your lungs where it can negatively impact your respiratory system. If you have a previous history of respiratory problems, then you have an even greater chance of having future problems due to poor oral hygiene. If you suffer from gum disease this also puts you at further risk for developing pneumonia and other respiratory conditions.
Risk of Diabetes
Studies have found that 95 percent of adults in the U.S. who suffer from diabetes have also experienced from tooth loss caused by periodontal disease. This is due to the fact that individuals with diabetes have a higher risk of infection. However, it’s a two-way connection: diabetes contributes to the development of gum disease and gum disease increases an individual’s risk of diabetes.
Not only can poor oral health harm your overall health, it can also impact the health of your unborn baby. If an expectant mother doesn’t practice quality oral hygiene during pregnancy, oral infections can develop that can increase the risk of a premature birth.
Beaverton family dentist Dr. Richard Barrett hopes every patient enjoys a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. If you have any questions about what poor oral health can do to your overall health, feel free to ask any member of our staff during your next appointment at Barrett Family Dental.