Chances are, you’ve heard before that different systems of your body are interconnected. If one of them goes out of whack, it can work like a domino and knock over one or more of your other systems. So you might think you’re having a problem with one part of your body, but it could be originating from a completely different place.
Take your teeth for example. Many people think that neglecting your oral health care is just going to leave you with bad teeth. That’s bad enough, but it can also cause health problems in other areas.
Here are a few things that can happen because of poor oral health.
So the big problem for many people in the oral health system is endocarditis. It works like this: If you don’t properly brush your teeth, you already know that it can cause plaque deposits to form. It also causes gingivitis and these two together can be deadly. The bacteria from the plaque can cause disease if it enters the blood stream. But the gingivitis provides it with the entrance to the bloodstream.
When your gums bleed from gingivitis, it’s an open wound that will let the bacteria travel through your body. If this happens, the bacteria can go after the valves of the heart and cause heart disease and failure.
This one is a little harder to explain. It has been established that there is a link between periodontitis and premature birth. But why? Periodontitis is a weakening of the bone that holds your teeth in place. If it gets too bad, your teeth will fall out.
What does this have to do with pregnancy? Experts think that infection is caused by the disease weakening the mother’s immune system. If the placenta comes in contact with this infection, then it has a natural defense—it gets inflamed. But this defense can cause pre-term labor that can lead to serious health problems for the baby.
Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
For years, we’ve known that dental health decreases when a person develops dementia. As people forget how to care for themselves, naturally dental care is affected and cavities and gum disease are common. But what if it worked the other way, as well? We’ve already seen that bacteria from gingivitis can get into the bloodstream. One recent study suggests that this bacteria can also attack the brain, possibly causing Alzheimer’s or dementia.
The bottom line is that your dental health isn’t just some secondary issue that you don’t need to focus on. Your total body health is important and oral healthcare is just one piece of that puzzle. If you allow your teeth and gums to deteriorate and dental disease set in, then you are setting yourself up for a host of possible health problems down the line.