It’s Not Just Your Dental Health Anymore – 5 Major Health Risks of Poor Hygiene

5 Health Issues (Partly) to Blame on Poor Dental Care

Keeping your mouth healthy translates into a beautiful, healthy smile. But while flossing and brushing twice a day, plus regular trips to the dentist are essential for dental health, studies are now finding links to your overall health and your dental health. Or more simply, poor dental hygiene translates into much larger, major health issues.

Here are 5 major health issues and how your dental health relates…

1) Heart Disease. Patients suffering from gum disease, also called periodontitis, are twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease than those without gum disease. Although researchers are not clear why this is, the culprit may lie in the bacteria from the mouth attaching to fatty plaques in your heart’s blood vessels. This leads to inflammation which the triggers clots and
subsequent heart attacks.

2) Your memory. In a study which followed 118 nuns between the ages of 75 and 98, those with the fewest teeth were the most likely to suffer from dementia. Oral bacteria may be to blame for this as it spreads to the brain through cranial nerves that connect to the jaw. So, take care of your teeth – your memory depends on it!

3) Blood sugar. Diabetes and gum disease are closely linked. One reason is that diabetics are more susceptible to infections. But then researchers have also found that people with gum disease find it harder to control their blood sugar. Treating the diabetes symptoms also treats the gum disease.

4) Breathing. According to the Journal of Periodontology, gum disease can also increase your chances of getting pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These respiratory infections occur because bacteria from the mouth are inhaled into your lungs.

5) Fertility. Researchers in Western Australia found that women with gum disease took 7 months to become pregnant. In contrast, women without the disease took 5 months. Even more reason to keep up with your dental health, other research shows that women with gum disease have higher odds of miscarriage than those without.

Proper Dental Hygiene Tips

So, just how can you prevent gum disease? It’s really just a matter of proper teeth-cleaning tips. And some added extras that can cut your risk for gum disease by 60% or more.

Use mouthwash. According to Majorie Jeffcoat, DMD, Professor of Periodontology at Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine in Philadelphia, rinsing your mouth twice a day with mouthwash can cut your risk for developing gum disease by 60%. 30 seconds twice a day to a cleaner mouth.

Floss the right way. Jeffcoat encourages flossing first. Floss to remove the particles beforehand and then brush to completely eliminate them.

The right brush makes all the difference. Think a harder brush means your teeth are more clean? Think again. Soft or extra soft bristles are best for cleaning your teeth, not to mention the delicate gum tissue below. Gum tissue scratches easily, which leads to bleeding gums and infections.

Sing while you brush. Aim to brush your teeth for a full 2 minutes. If that sounds like a long time, when you consider your teeth, tongue, cheeks, etc. it’s really not a long at all. And for the kids, sing a full round of the happy birthday song for each, the upper and lower areas of the mouth.

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt about it, besides fresh breath and a nice smile, taking care of your teeth also leads to better overall health.

So the next time you consider delaying that dental check-up, just remember, your health depends on it too.

About Mark C. Marchbanks, D.D.S.

Dr. Mark Marchbanks has practiced dentistry in Arlington Texas since 1983. He enjoys caring for patients young and old. You can find Dr. Marchbanks on
or on

If it's been more than 6 months since your last teeth cleaning, give us a call today to schedule your check-up.

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