Effects of Poor Oral Health on Overall Health

by Dov Waxman

You understand that poor oral health can cause tooth decay and other dental problems, but do you know that poor oral health can also cause serious health problems? Many oral problems such as gum diseases in which the bone that supports teeth gets affected and if left untreated, it can contribute to serious health conditions that includes heart disease, diabetes, mental health problems and pregnancy complications.
In this article, we will discuss the effects of poor oral health on overall health.

1) Heart disease
If you are suffering from periodontal disease (advanced stage of gum disease), the bacteria can enter in the blood stream traveling in the arteries in the heart that leads to the condition known as atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries) which decreases or may also block the blood flow to the body which increases the risk of heart disease or stroke.

2) Diabetes
According to the research, periodontal disease somehow can affect the body’s metabolism and contributes to the development of a condition known as pre-diabetes in which the sugar levels are higher than the normal. Moreover, people suffering from diabetes are also more susceptible to periodontal disease.

3) Pregnancy complications
Studies show that pregnant women with gum disease are at higher risk of delivering pre-term babies, low birth weight babies than women without periodontitis. Periodontal therapy help in reduces the risk of preterm deliveries.

4) Mental health problems
It is common that stress and anxiety impact your health negatively. But according to the research, there is a strong relationship between oral health and mental health. Stress, anxiety, depression and loneliness causes your body to produce more of a hormone cortisol which in long term can aid to the progression of periodontal disease.

5) Alzheimer’s disease
This disease is affecting many people today. Patient who suffer from gingivitis (initial stage of gum disease), the bacteria may enter the brain either through the blood stream or the nerve channels in the head that might lead to the development of Alzheimer disease, a condition in which people lose their memory.

6) Respiratory infections
The Journals of Periodontology warns that gum disease can cause respiratory infections. Although the reason is not so obvious, but think of what happens when breathing in bacteria from the infected teeth and gums for longer period of time.

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