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The sad thing about losing your teeth is that you won't grow another in the place of a lost one, unlike hair strands. That's why it is very important to care for your teeth with everything you have! But people are surprisingly lax about their dental health because it's widely believed that poor dental hygiene may not kill you. Unless the toothache gets really unbearable, it's not on their list of priorities to fix an appointment with the dentist. That's where people go wrong. When it comes to dental health, prevention is definitely cheaper than cure. But not caring enough for your teeth can also cut your life short because research suggests poor oral health increases your risk of overall mortality. Here are some ways in which not caring enough for your teeth can cause life-threatening problems.
Dental caries or tooth decay is a common chronic condition that affects many diabetic patients. Since oral health care among diabetics is an overlooked concern, most patients do not seek immediate medical attention for dental cavities. But if left untreated, it can lead to pain, infection, and eventual tooth loss. Without a proper set of teeth, the diabetic's quality of life and nutrition gets severely hindered. But that's not all. A diabetic patient who had not formerly taken treatment for tooth decay almost died when the infection from the tooth spread to his jaw bone. Eventually, the infection spread to his neck and blocked his air supply because there was too much pus.
Poor oral health can affect the brain. Substances that are released from gums inflamed by infection can actually kill brain cells and lead to memory loss. Dementia and possibly even Alzheimer's disease can result from gingivitis when the bacteria in the mouth spreads to the nerve channels or enters the bloodstream.
Having poor oral health puts a person at risk for heart disease. If the gums are inflamed due to the bacteria that causes periodontal disease, that same bacteria can actually get into the bloodstream causing the arteries to build up plaque and harden. This hardening of the arteries is called atherosclerosis, and it is very serious. It leads to blood flow problems and heart blockages, and it increases the likelihood of having a heart attack. The damaging impact on the arteries and blood vessels can lead to hypertension and increase the risk for strokes. Endocarditis can also develop, which is an often fatal condition that occurs when the lining of the heart becomes infected.
Luckily, you can prevent gum disease with regular teeth cleanings and proper oral hygiene. This will reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and keep your smile healthy and strong.
There is a link between poor oral health and problems with infertility in women. Gum disease can lead to various overall health issues that can make it more difficult for a woman to conceive and sustain a healthy pregnancy. It can actually take longer for a woman with poor oral health to get pregnant than it would for a woman who has good dental health.
Not brushing thoroughly could increase your risk of dying prematurely from cancer says a cohort study. All thanks to the harmful bacteria in the oral cavity. A total of 1390 patients were assessed in the study for a period of 24 years, starting in 1985. The researchers found that patients who had a high bacterial load on the surface of their teeth and gum pockets were likely to die of cancer before time. Their risk of dying increased by a whopping 80 percent!
According to the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, people with gum disease were four times more likely to have Rheumatoid Arthritis. Both diseases have inflammation in common. The oral bacteria from gingivitis can increase inflammation throughout the body. This makes the risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis, a painful and debilitating inflammatory disease, much higher.
Chronic kidney disease is a serious health problem that affects the kidneys, heart, bones, and blood pressure. Infections in the body such as periodontal disease can lead to kidney disease. People with gum disease generally have weaker immune systems and are more likely to acquire infections. Many people who suffer from very poor oral health also suffer from kidney disease. Kidney disease can be fatal if it leads to kidney failure or cardiovascular disease.
By staying on top of oral hygiene, you can ward off cavities and even reverse gingivitis. But it's going to take extra effort now. These steps can help keep your mouth and the rest of you healthy:
-Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once.
-If you have dry mouth, ask your dentist about a prescription toothpaste or mouth rinse with fluoride to help protect against cavities.
-If you find brushing difficult because of arthritis, try an electric toothbrush or a toothbrush with an ergonomic handle.
-Avoid smoking, which is a risk factor for gum disease.
Healthy teeth are clean and free of pain caused by cavities and disease. Healthy gums are pink and do not bleed when brushed or flossed.
Oral health is an indicator of overall health. Taking care to prevent oral health problems like gingivitis and periodontal disease can go a long way toward decreasing the risk for more serious health problems throughout the body.
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