Poor Oral Hygiene Can Affect The Rest Of Your Body
Most people are aware that neglecting regular teeth cleaning has negative effects for the teeth and gums but have you ever thought about the impact of poor oral hygiene on the rest of the body?
A number of studies have linked poor oral hygiene to a host of illnesses and medical conditions, from diabetes and strokes to heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease and spending a few minutes each day brushing your teeth has never been so important.
How does oral hygiene affect the body?
Oral hygiene is a means of keeping your mouth clean, but it also has implications for the rest of the body. When you brush your teeth you remove plaque, food debris and bacteria from the mouth; if you don’t clean your teeth on a regular basis, bacteria and food particles combine to become plaque, which builds up in the mouth putting your oral and general health at risk. Plaque sticks to the protective enamel surfaces of the teeth and if it is left, it can harden to become tartar, which is impossible to remove with a toothbrush alone.
Studies have suggested that poor oral hygiene is not just a risk factor for gum disease and tooth decay; it also increases the risk of medical conditions, some of which are potentially very serious.
Gum disease and heart disease
Research has suggested that poor oral health is linked to an increased risk of heart disease; a study carried out in Scotland, which involved more than 11,000 people, found that people who did not brush their teeth twice a day were more likely to develop heart disease, as bacteria from the mouth can travel to other parts of the body via the bloodstream.
Scientists at the University of Bristol worked with experts from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and established that the Streptococcus strain of bacteria, which is linked to gum disease and plaque, may be responsible for the increased risk of heart disease, as the bacteria affects clotting by producing a protein called PDA, which causes the platelets to clot, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Oral hygiene and pregnancy
Oral hygiene is important for everyone, but it is absolutely vital for pregnant women. Studies have shown that pregnant women have a higher risk of gum disease due to hormonal changes in the body and gum disease during pregnancy can result in complications before and during child birth.
An American study involving 160 women revealed that pregnant women who had gum disease were three times more likely to give birth prematurely and studies have also suggested that gum disease may be linked to low birth weight.
Oral hygiene tips
The overriding message from dentists and researchers is that oral hygiene is essential for good oral and general health and the good news is that it only takes a few minutes every day to keep oral disease at bay.
A good daily oral hygiene regime should include brushing twice a day for two minutes each time using fluoride toothpaste, flossing and using mouthwash on a regular basis. Going to the dentist is never fun, but it is really important and you should try to go for a check-up every 6 months.
Diet also plays an influential role in oral health; try to avoid eating and drinking sugary foods and drinks on a regular basis, ensure you take in the recommended daily intake of calcium and vitamin D and stick to healthy snacks, such as raw vegetables, for example carrots and celery, sugar-free yoghurts, fruit, nuts and wholemeal crackers.