June 12, 2019
You might think that brushing and flossing only helps your mouth, but that’s not entirely true. Several diseases have been linked to poor oral hygiene habits. By skipping out on regular brushing, flossing, and visits to the dentist, you can actually put the rest of your body at risk. Let’s look at 5 diseases that you can contract if you neglect your oral hygiene.
1. Heart Disease
Although no definite causal relationship has been proven between them, poor oral health and heart conditions often coexist. One theory is that there are a number of other risk factors, such as old age and smoking, that have been known to cause diseases in both the mouth and the heart. Another theory claims that when you have gum disease as a result of poor oral hygiene, small pockets appear in your gums, through which bacteria can enter and travel to your heart.
2. Type 2 Diabetes
A study from Columbia University found that people who had a higher level of gum disease were more likely to have or be at risk for type 2 diabetes compared to people with little or no gum disease. One theory posits that when infections in your mouth get bad enough to spread to the rest of your body, they can attach to your insulin receptors and prevent your cells from using insulin, increasing your blood sugar levels.
3. Pregnancy Complications
Fluctuating hormone levels that are characteristic of pregnancy can cause gum infections. In addition, some women neglect their oral hygiene during pregnancy, since they understandably have so many other things on their minds. Gum infections during pregnancy have been linked to premature births and low birth weight.
4. Pancreatic Cancer
Having infections in the mouth has been shown to put people more at risk for pancreatic cancer. Like heart disease, this is likely the result of bacteria traveling into the bloodstream and attacking other areas of the body. Damage to the pancreas can also cause diabetes.
The lungs are a very short distance away from the mouth. This oral system link makes it easy for bacteria to reach and wreak havoc on the lungs. Studies have shown that an improvement in oral hygiene can lead to a decrease in bacterial infection in the lungs.
Now you see just why brushing and flossing are so important! Additionally, it’s important to visit your dentist at least every six months to make sure you don’t have oral health issues that could turn into any one of these diseases.
About the Author
Dr. Manpreet Dhaliwal graduated with his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Detroit Mercy. He enjoys treating patients of all ages at Four Corners Family Dentistry in Maple Valley, WA. To learn more about how to take excellent care of your oral health, click here or call (425)-413-8505.
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