The ugly truth is your mouth is home to over 700 different strains of bacteria. While most are harmless, a few can cause some real health problems. At C R Dental Group, Dr. James Reisman and Dr. Jordana Contrucci warn patients that by neglecting your teeth and your oral health you may be setting yourself up for some serious health issues down the road. Not only will disregard to your dental hygiene lead to the obvious outcomes such as tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss, but can ultimately impact your overall health. Following are five health problems that studies have linked to periodontal disease:

  • Coronary artery disease – Bacteria from your mouth enters the blood stream and attach to plaque in your arteries. This causes inflammation and increases your chances for developing clots and blockages that lead to heart attacks.
  • Dementia – Researchers have discovered that people who don’t brush their teeth regularly were up to 65% more likely to have dementia. Oral bacteria can spread to the brain through the cranial nerve that connects to the jaw through the bloodstream.
  • Diabetics are more likely to have gum disease. Poor dental health may increase risk for insulin-resistance and diabetes because it increases inflammation.
  • Pneumonia – With an overgrowth of bacteria in your mouth due to lack of brushing and flossing, it’s possible to inhale them into the lungs. Research has shown a 40% decrease of pneumonia in hospital patients by improving oral hygiene!
  • Pregnancy complications – When bacteria from the mouth colonize the placenta through an expectant mother’s bloodstream, if she has poor dental health, the baby could be at risk for preterm birth, low birth weight and will be more likely to develop cavities later on.

Take care of your mouth, the gateway to the body

Your mouth, if not taken care of, provides the right environment for bad bacteria to grow and spread throughout the body. This can start a chain of events leading to multiple health problems. It’s important to not only brush and floss everyday, but to do it correctly. Visiting your dentist at least twice a year is also necessary to make sure you are keeping your mouth in optimal condition, thus helping your overall health in the long run.