We’ve all heard the benefits of good oral hygiene, over and over again. But did you know that an unhealthy mouth can create negative effects for your overall wellbeing, and put you at risk of many diseases? The mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body after all.
The dangers of dental plaque
Plaque – a colourless film that sticks to your teeth – consists of the over-500 species of bacteria that live in your mouth, and can lead to serious health problems if allowed to accumulate over time.
Normally, your mouth has defences that stop the bacteria in plaque entering your bloodstream and causing serious infection, but plaque build-up alongside gum disease poses the risk for oral bacteria entering your bloodstream and causing problems in other parts of your body.
Loss of teeth and long-term gum infections can contribute to insulin resistance that disrupts blood sugar control and can potentially lead to diabetes. Studies have also shown that bacteria in the mouth may cause inflammation throughout the body, possibly extending to the arteries. This serves the foundation for artery problems and cardiovascular disease, which could increase your risk of a stroke or heart attack.
Which conditions have been linked to poor oral health?
Alongside diabetes and cardiovascular disease, infections stemming from the mouth and poor oral hygiene have been strongly linked to many other medical conditions. For example, endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart, also caused by infections in the bloodstream, which can stem from unchecked bacteria in the mouth.
Dangerous bacteria within infected teeth and gums can also enter the respiratory system, leading to infections such as pneumonia, and have even been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, as oral infections can easily spread bacteria to the brain.
It’s important for pregnant women to protect their oral health, as severe gum disease can increase the risk of premature birth and low birth weight for their children – overseas in the United States, as many as 18 per cent of premature births have been attributed to oral infections. Oral bacteria in the mother’s bloodstream both release toxins that reach the placenta and interfere with foetus growth, while also affecting the triggers that induce labour.
How can I protect my oral health?
It’s clear that a healthy mouth and good oral hygiene is key to minimising the risk of dangerous diseases, and making sure your whole body is in the best health possible – so there’s no excuse not to start brushing your teeth regularly and to fix that nagging tooth issue today! If you feel ‘behind’ when it comes to your oral health, then seeing a dental hygienist who can thoroughly check your teeth is a good place to start. Our experienced dental hygienists can help thoroughly clean your teeth and gums preventing plaque accumulation and the progression to gum disease – just one step to reducing the risks associated with plaque build-up and mouth infections.
Here at Naenae Dental Clinic, our team can help you with any dental hygiene issue and much more – when it comes to improving your overall long-term health, we aim to be the dentist Wellington needs, helping our customers stay clear of dangerous diseases!