Brush at least twice a day and floss to prevent cavities. This is a message shared by dentists and public health officials for decades now, yet at least half of all American adults have some level of gum disease. Considering the serious conditions and ailments linked to periodontal disease, brushing one’s teeth takes on a different view.
What is Gum Disease?
When teeth are not brushed and flossed regularly, plaque which is made up of sticky bacteria, can build up and start irritating the gums. Eventually, the gums become swollen, sore, and even infected. This is known as gingivitis, and it can cause periodontal disease, which is also known as gum disease. Once gum disease sets in, it can destroy the support structures of teeth and could lead to tooth extractions Broomfield CO.
Why the Brains and Heart?
Believe it or not, what is bad for the gums is bad for the brain too. Bacteria from gum disease have been found in the brains of people who have Alzheimer’s disease. It is thought that some bacteria found in patients with periodontal disease can interfere with neural processing, causing an increased likelihood for Alzheimer’s to progress. Men with gum disease and tooth loss are more at risk of cognitive decline than women or those with healthy teeth.
The heart is also thought to be impacted by poor teeth hygiene. There is a correlation between those with gum disease and those with cardiovascular disease. Although the relationship is not completely clear, it is believed that the bacteria that inflame gums can also cause inflammation in other parts of the body, including the heart.
Where Does the Bacteria Travel?
Erectile dysfunction is another common condition that affects an estimated 50% of adult American men. The link between erectile dysfunction and chronic periodontal disease is so strongly suspected that it is recommended that physicians refer their patients with ED to a dentist for a full evaluation.
Scientific studies have shown that periodontal disease can increase the overall risk of cancer and has been specifically linked to pancreatic cancer. Bacteria found in patients with gum disease has also been found in cancerous gastrointestinal tumors.
Reduction of respiratory function is correlated with chronic gun disease. It is thought that inflammation from the mouth and gums infiltrated the lungs and respiratory pathways, resulting in reduced function.
With several serious risks and potential disease problems associated with poor dental hygiene, it seems reasonable that brushing and flossing regularly is a significant prevention measure. Prevention is key in keeping gum disease and inflammation at bay.