If your eyes are the window to your soul, your teeth may well be the mirrors to your health. Poor dental health can lead to a host of other problems. In severe cases, periodontal disease can lead to death.
Many Americans fail to take proper care of their pearly whites. Some lack insurance coverage, while others don’t realise the risks of neglecting their oral hygiene and dental care.
Here’s what you need to know – as well as how you can improve your oral health.
1. Cardiovascular Disease
In the U.S., many people consider dental care a matter of vanity. But oral health is much more than a cosmetic concern. Deteriorating teeth and gums can kill.
Researchers discovered people with periodontal disease run a 20% higher risk of developing cardiovascular problems. Bacteria from your mouth can enter your bloodstream, causing inflammation in your veins and arteries. This inflammation can lead to heart attack and stroke. Infections also stress the cardiac tissue, increasing your risk of congestive heart failure.
2. Upper Respiratory Diseases
You can aspirate bacteria in your mouth into your lungs, causing sickness. Your saliva is your body’s first line of defense against germs. When you have insufficient levels, microbes flourish.
Many people experience colds and flu, and most recover. However, frequent infections can develop into pneumonia, a potentially fatal lung infection. Symptoms of pneumonia include pressure and tightness in the chest, along with fever. See your doctor if you have severe chest congestion and a fever of 102 degrees or higher.
3. Alzheimer’s Disease
Because Medicare doesn’t cover most dental procedures, many seniors go without the care they need. In doing so, they significantly increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers discovered DNA-based evidence that the bacteria responsible for gingivitis travel to the brain. These bacteria release enzymes that destroy nerve cells. Nearly all individuals with Alzheimer’s tested positive for these substances. While this alone doesn’t cause the condition, it can hasten its onset.
4. Type 2 Diabetes
Researchers found a correlation between incidents of periodontal disease and Type 2 diabetes. Scientists remain uncertain exactly how the two conditions correspond. However, they theorize bacteria cause inflammation in other parts of the body, including the pancreas. This organ produces the insulin your body needs to manage blood sugar levels.
Additionally, people with poor teeth tend to eat diets high in processed flours. Foods like white bread and pastries are easy to chew if you suffer mouth pain. However, these lead to blood sugar spikes. Over time, your body grows resistant to the impact of insulin in managing these ups and downs.
5. Birth Defects and Low Birth Weight
The risk of delivering a low-birth-weight baby increases by 7.5% in women with periodontal disease. Poor oral health may also contribute to birth defects. Expectant mums benefit from seeing their dentist throughout their pregnancy.
Pregnancy causes changes in your gums. It makes them looser and more open to infection. Receiving regular cleanings can reduce the chances of bacteria creating health problems in your unborn baby.
Finally, it’s hard to consume all the calories you need to stay healthy if your teeth hurt when you chew. Many people put off seeing the dentist until they develop severe pain. By this point, their dentist may need to remove the tooth. If they can’t afford dentures or implants, eating becomes difficult.
How To Improve Your Dental Routine
Fortunately, anyone can improve their dental care routine. Here’s what to do.
- Buy a better toothbrush: Most dentists recommend changing your toothbrush every three months, as bacteria accumulate on the bristles. If you suffer from a condition like arthritis that makes grasping difficult, consider investing in an electric model. The swirling motion gently scrubs away germs without requiring much pressure.
- Brush no more than twice daily: Brushing too often can wear down your tooth enamel, which can lead to cavities. Brush your teeth twice per day for approximately two minutes. Sing “Happy Birthday” in your head six times.
- Floss every day: Many Americans do not floss daily. Neglecting this step allows food particles to remain trapped between teeth, providing ripe fodder for bacteria. If regular floss causes pain, try using the tape variety. The wider, softer strands don’t cut gums.
- Consider water flossers and rinses: Keep your teeth healthier between brushings by using a water flosser or a fluoride mouth rinse. Water flossers remove food particles between teeth. Mouthwash freshens your breath, which is helpful if you eat a garlicky lunch. It also helps remineralize your enamel.
Improving Your Dental Care Routine Benefits Overall Health
You can prevent many common health woes by upping your oral hygiene routine. Feel your best by polishing your pearlies!