Poor dental hygiene can lead to complications such as tooth decay, gum disease, and even bad breath. However, not taking care of your dental hygiene can also lead to much more serious complications and illnesses.
So why good dental hygiene is important? Here’s three illnesses linked to poor oral health: Alzheimers Disease, Pancreatic Cancer and Heart Disease…
Why Good Dental Hygiene Is Important To Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
Based on a 2010 New York University (NYU) study, researchers found a substantial link between gum inflammation and Alzheimer’s disease. The study included a 20-year observation period with subjects between the ages of 50 and 70. Participants were nine times more likely to show signs of Alzheimer’s (more specifically, a lower range of the “digit symbol test” (DST) if they had inflammation in their gums.
At the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), a 2013 study similar to the one at NYU had found that those with Alzheimer’s had the same bacteria in their brain associated with chronic gum disease.
With further support, it concluded in 2014 that gum disease-causing bacteria are capable of moving from the mouth to the brain.
The Link Between Gum Disease & Pancreatic Cancer
During a 2007 Harvard study, public health researchers found a strong link between gum disease and pancreatic cancer. Periodontitis is associated with cancer, and it affects the tissue that supports the teeth and can cause loss of bone around the base of the teeth.
The study also found that gingivitis and pancreatic cancer are not linked; however, if gingivitis is not taken care of, then it can lead to periodontitis. Out of 51,000 men in the study, those with a history of gum disease were 64% more likely to have pancreatic cancer in their lifetime compared to those without gum disease.
Since gum disease-causing bacteria are capable of mobility, when you brush your teeth or clean bleeding gums, the bacteria can move through your mouth into your digestive system. There, the chemicals in your gut react to the bacteria and begin developing pancreatic cancer.
Heart Disease’s Link To Poor Oral Health
Aside from Alzheimer’s Disease and Pancreatic Cancer, one of the most well known diseases linked to poor dental hygiene is heart or cardiovascular disease.
In 2008, Medical News Today (MNT) reported a research study between University of Bristol and Royal College of Surgeons that found that people with bleeding gums and poor oral health can increase their risk of getting heart disease. This is because, since bacteria can enter the bloodstream, it can cause blood clots and ultimately trigger a heart attack is left unfound or untreated.
Bristol University did further research on this and found that gum disease bacteria sticks to your blood platelets and uses them as a defense mechanism. Thus, they clump the platelets together as a means of shielding themselves from immune cells and antibiotics.
How To Lower Your Risk Starting Today
There’s still plenty of research needed to prove the strength of these associations further; however, there is substantial evidence that shows that good dental hygiene is important to help lower the risk of these dangerous diseases. Not to mention, why good dental hygiene is important to prevent diabetes. Read our past article that links dental health to Diabetes. Maintain good oral health by brushing twice daily, flossing and rinsing with mouthwash every day, and visiting your local dentist every six months.
Contact our Elmwood Park office or schedule your next dental checkup online. We are located near Franklin Park, Melrose Park, Oak Park, Bellwood, Maywood, and River Forest IL.