Brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash are must-follow steps usually associated with cavity and gum disease prevention. But what’s important to realize is that these dental hygiene steps offer benefits that go way beyond having a healthy mouth. Helping patients embrace better oral health at his dental office in Kalispell, MT, Ronald B. Potthoff, DDS, PC highlights a few critical examples of how the way you care for your teeth can impact your overall health.
5 Ways Poor Dental Hygiene Can Impact Overall Health
1. Heart Disease
The connection between gum disease and cardiovascular, or heart, disease, is strong. Over time, the oral bacteria associated with gum disease enter the bloodstream and cause plaque to build up along artery walls. This plaque can eventually restrict blood flow, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
2. Lung Infections
Even if you don’t smoke, poor oral health can lead to breathing problems. When bacteria are present in your mouth, it can be inhaled and spread to the lungs. This process can lead to debilitating lung infections, such as pneumonia.
Recent, ongoing research connects gum disease to an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It is believed that the bacteria that cause infection in the mouth can impact the nerve pathways in the brain, eventually affecting one’s memory.
4. Blood Sugar Control
Diabetes is known to suppress the immune system, making it easier for oral bacteria to cause infections in teeth and gums. At the same time, individuals who have gum disease and diabetes will find that the infection makes it more difficult to keep blood sugar under control. When poor blood sugar levels and dental hygiene are combined, individuals can experience a wide range of health complications, including nerve damage, kidney failure, and heart disease.
5. Reproductive Health
It’s well known that due to increased hormone production, women are more likely to develop gum disease while pregnant. But when women have gum disease before trying to conceive, the associated physical health issues of the condition can make it more difficult to conceive. For men, restricted blood flow caused by oral bacteria buildup in arteries is associated with an increased risk for erectile dysfunction.
Although the consequences of poor dental hygiene can be severe, preventing them is fairly simple. In addition to routine at-home care, patients in the Greater Flathead Valley region can turn to Ronald B. Potthoff, DDS, PC, to receive the teeth cleaning, check-ups, and dental care they need to keep oral bacteria at bay. Call (406) 755-5280 to schedule a convenient appointment.