Oral health is about so much more than the health of the mouth, gums and teeth. Because the mouth is the main entryway into the body, poor oral health can cause negative reactions in the body. Teeth that ache, gums that bleed and breath that has a bad smell are all symptoms of poor oral hygiene. Bacteria from the mouth can get into the bloodstream and create infection and inflammation wherever it goes.
Here are four disadvantages of not seeing a family dentist for oral hygiene care.
Having bad oral health could put a person at risk for heart disease. If the gums are inflamed due to the bacteria that cause periodontal disease, that same bacteria can get into the bloodstream, causing the arteries to build up plaque and then harden. This hardening of the arteries is named atherosclerosis, and it can be severe. It can create blood flow issues and heart blockages, and it intensifies the likelihood of having a heart attack. The harmful impact on the arteries and blood vessels can lead to hypertension and could increase the risk of stroke. Endocarditis can also fester, which is an often-fatal condition that happens when the lining of the heart becomes infected.
Not only are people with diabetes already more vulnerable to infection like infected gums, which can lead to periodontal disease, but periodontal disease can, in turn, make diabetes tough to control. Symptoms can deteriorate as blood sugar levels go haywire because of gum disease. It is particularly important for people with diabetes to take great care of their oral health to prevent complications with the disease. Because gum disease can lead to higher than average blood sugar levels, a person with poor oral health is at an increased risk of developing diabetes.
Poor oral health practices such as using tobacco products or smoking can lead to throat and oral cancers, but other types of cancer have also been linked to gum disease. The risk for kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer and blood cancers is much higher for people who have poor oral health.
There is a connection with poor oral health and issues with infertility in women. Gum disease can lead to several overall health issues that can make it more problematic for a woman to conceive and sustain a wholesome pregnancy. It can take longer for a woman with poor oral health to get pregnant than it would for a woman who has excellent dental health.
The best way to stop serious health issues caused by inadequate oral health is to practice good oral hygiene and schedule regular appointments with a family dentist.
To achieve good oral hygiene:
- Brush the gums and teeth for two minutes at least two times a day
- Floss the teeth at a minimum one time daily
- Steer clear of smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco products
- Use toothpaste and mouthwash that contain fluoride
- Reduce sugary foods and drinks
Healthy teeth are free of pain and have no cavities or disease. Healthy gums are pink in color and do not bleed when flossed or brushed.
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