It’s tempting to think that the condition of your teeth is largely just a cosmetic issue; the difference between a gleaming, Hollywood-style smile and… not. However, there’s a lot more to oral health than simply whether or not your teeth are chipped or stained.
A growing body of research has hinted at the influence that dental health exercises on health more generally. Here are examples of how neglecting your mouth can have unfortunate repercussions…
You might not have realised how much good you are doing your heart when brushing your teeth every day, but it’s true that gum inflammation and periodontal disease can lead bacteria to enter your bloodstream and, from there, the arteries in your heart.
This situation can give rise to atherosclerosis, where plaque builds up on your arteries’ inner walls and so reduce and block blood flow, potentially causing a heart attack or stroke, Colgate warns.
The British Heart Foundation provides various tips for how, in keeping on top of your dental health, you can help to protect your cardiovascular health in turn. Not following these tips can lead to gum disease, which is typically preceded by gingivitis – that’s a word for gum inflammation.
Gingivitis poses the risk of bacteria flowing into your brain through either your head’s nerve channels or the bloodstream. Either way, Alzheimer’s disease can develop as a result.
Leaving teeth and gums infected, as would be the case if you don’t act on gum disease, for a long period of time can lead you to breathe in bacteria. If you think this doesn’t sound healthy, you would be right, as your lungs could become infected – including with pneumonia.
Everyday Health cites a 2006 study where, among elderly patients, the number developing pneumonia was 3.9 times larger in those with periodontal infection compared to those participants who were so not infected.
If you suffer from diabetes, be warned that you are already likelier to pick up periodontal disease. Worse, when combined with inflamed gum tissue, this disease can see you further struggling to prevent your blood sugar from veering out of control.
“We found that people who had higher levels of periodontal disease had a twofold risk of developing type 2 diabetes over [20 years] compared to people with low levels or no gum disease,” Ryan Demmer, a researcher at Columbia University, once commented about a 2008 study he authored.
If you are a woman preparing for pregnancy, you should be careful not to overlook your oral health during your pregnancy. Yes, following this advice might seem a tall order, given how busy your life will inevitably be – but not following it would be risking early labour.
That’s according to research suggesting that gum disease or oral inflammation can cause a chemical compound known as prostaglandin to increase. Therefore, whereas the occasional chipped tooth could be fixed with composite bonding from Ten Dental, gum disease is a more serious issue that warrants more extensive treatment.