For whatever reason, many people don’t make their oral hygiene a top priority. They may understand that they’re putting their teeth and gums at great risk of infection and decay, but they figure they’re doing enough to ensure the problem doesn’t get too bad, and besides, they can get dentures if they lose their teeth. What they may not realize is that oral health can make a significant impact on their overall health. Your Richardson dentist, Dr. Diep Truong, discusses how not maintaining your oral health could harm your entire body.

Mouth Bacteria Can Harm More than Teeth and Gums

Billions of bacteria hang out in your mouth, feasting on leftover food particles. The harmful ones will secrete an acidic by-product that can destroy tooth enamel and inflame and destroy the gums. While it has yet to be proven, it is suspected that if some of those bacteria can get into the bloodstream, they can take their destructive power to other parts of the body.

The Heart is Vulnerable

Heart disease and periodontal disease seem to be closely linked. People with gum disease are two times more likely to also suffer from heart problems than people with healthy gums. Scientists do not think this is a coincidence. While it has yet to be proven, it is suspected that mouth bacteria that enters the bloodstream via the gums travels to the heart, where they also cause inflammation, this time of the arteries. Of course, inflamed arteries can lead to clogged arteries, which can lead to a heart attack.

Your Memory May Suffer

Poor oral health might just lead to dementia later in life. One study that followed elderly nuns discovered that the fewer teeth a nun had remaining, the more likely she’d suffer from dementia.  Again, the exact cause isn’t known, but the dangerous bacteria are once again thought to be the culprit, again entering the bloodstream though the gums. There is also some suspicion that these bacteria are also linked to Alzheimer’s.

Your Diabetes Might Get Worse

If you already suffer from diabetes, you know how difficult it can be to maintain proper oral care, since diabetes tends to make infections, including gum infection, worse. What you might not realize that your gum disease may also be making your diabetes worse. For reasons that are still poorly understood, gum disease is thought to make blood sugar more difficult to control, creating a potential vicious circle that leads to declining overall health.

Contact Your Richardson Dentist for a Checkup

If you are concerned that your oral health might be causing you harm, it might be time for a checkup and cleaning. Call our Dallas dentist office at (214) 337-7800, or our Richardson dentist office at (972)437-6000. We offer comprehensive dentistry to patients in the 75211 and 75080 zip codes, and surrounding neighborhoods.