Many people stick to a daily dental hygiene regime to have fresh breath and a dazzling bright smile, however, dental health extends way beyond that. The health of your mouth can have a major impact on your entire body’s well being.
Your mouth is host to six billion bacteria, some of which are good and others that are bad. It is your responsibility to keep them in check through regular dental care. If not dealt with, bad bacteria can cause a number of health issues that can affect several areas of the body, as well as pre-existing conditions.
Health issues caused by bacteria:
Bacteria can cause plague, a colourless film made from saliva, bacteria and food particles that builds up on our teeth. Plaque can be removed through regular brushing, however, if it is not removed, it hardens and turns into tartar.
Tartar is a hard mass that can not be removed by normal brushing. The bacteria in tartar release acids that creates holes in our tooth enamel that form cavities. In these cavities the bacteria cause further decay and can spread an infection to the gum tissue that results in a mild form of gum disease, i.e Gingivitis.
If not treated, gum disease will worsen, spreading and infecting more teeth and gum tissue. Since there is so much bad bacteria in the mouth, it can spread to other parts of the body.
Breathing through your mouth can result in bacteria being drawn into the lungs and cause illnesses such as pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema.
Harmful bacteria in your mouth can enter the bloodstream and attach to blood vessels. These altered vessels increase clot formation in the blood and decrease the flow to the heart, which increases blood pressure and the risk of a heart attack.
The Journal of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment have discovered a link between chronic periodontal disease, an extremely advanced stage of gum disease, and the risk of developing breast cancer. It was found that protein levels in the saliva of those suffering from periodontal diseases contributed to the diagnosis of breast cancer.
Pregnant woman are also likely to develop gum disease during pregnancy because of increased levels of progesterone in the body. This can have serious consequences as gum disease in pregnant women has been known to increase the risk of premature birth and a low birth weight.
Diabetics are also at a greater risk of developing gum disease. There is also evidence that gum disease can impact blood glucose levels in the body and further the progression of diabetes.
How do I know if I have Gum Disease:
The early symptoms and warning signs of gum disease include red and swollen gums, painful chewing, sensitive teeth and receding gums.
Gum disease can be prevented through regular visits to the dentist and daily oral hygiene, which includes brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day.