Keeping your teeth and gums healthy is important for more than just a dazzling smile. Research shows that a dental care routine that includes brushing, flossing and regular check-ups could be important to preserving several aspects of your overall health as well. Those simple habits learned in childhood are proving to have a surprising impact later in life as the benefits of good dental hygiene are better understood.
Healthy Mouth, Healthy Heart
While experts are not entirely certain how oral health impacts the heart, research shows that there is a link between poor dental hygiene and cardiovascular disease. It could be that bacteria in the mouth, harmless enough in normal amounts, may travel through the bloodstream if allowed to overgrow, contributing to the creation of plaque in the arteries. Some suggest that the inflammation caused by gum disease may spread throughout the body, increasing overall inflammation that can itself lead to heart disease. While the exact relationship is uncertain, what is clear is that maintaining a healthy mouth reduces the risk of heart disease, hardening of the arteries and stroke.
Do Cavities Cause Dementia?
Not only will bacteria from gum disease, or gingivitis, travel throughout the body to the heart via the bloodstream, this is also one route that the bacteria use to reach the brain. Bacteria may additionally enter the brain directly via nerve channels originating in the mouth, where they disrupt brain function and are considered be a contributing factor in the development of Alzheimer’s Disease.
If that isn’t alarming enough, poor dental health is known to be linked to a host of other illnesses such as immune system disorders, respiratory infections, poor bone density, and complications of symptoms triggered by diabetes.
Dental Hygiene and Pregnancy
Of particular concern to gynecologists and obstetricians is how bacteria in the mouth impact pregnancy and infants. Women who are pregnant experience hormone changes that can cause conditions such as gingivitis, periodontitis and pregnancy tumors. Morning sickness often induces vomiting, exposing teeth to stomach acids that erode tooth enamel and weaken gum walls. These conditions create opportunities for bacteria to enter the bloodstream, impacting unborn children. Studies show that an overgrowth of dental bacteria can be linked to pre-term births and low birth weights.
Prevention is the Cure
Knowing how important your mouth is to your overall health makes the simple daily routine of brushing and flossing so much easier to swallow. Remember to visit your Toothworks Toronto dentist regularly so as to help address any problems early on. Not only will you look and feel better showing off your pearly whites, but those simple steps of proper oral hygiene may actually be saving your life and mind.