Anyone who has ever had gum disease or poor oral health knows that the disorders can lead to pain, tooth loss, and bleeding in the mouth. However, it might take you by to surprise to learn that if your oral health isn't in good shape, the rest of your body might follow suit. Here are three major diseases that are linked to poor oral health.
Scientists have found a link between gum disease and cardiovascular disease. This includes diseases of the heart and the arteries. While it's not absolutely certain that one causes the other, scientists discovered that people with poor gum health are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those who have healthy gums.
The leading theory for this link is that the bacteria responsible for gum disease can potentially travel through the bloodstream. Bacteria can irritate and inflame arteries and the heart, which increases the risk for strokes and heart attacks.
Dementia, or other forms of degenerative brain diseases, might also be caused by poor oral health. Like cardiovascular disease, it's believed that the bacteria responsible for unhealthy gums could cause inflammation in the brain. In addition, the plaque that you find on your teeth might actually be able to make its way to the brain. The plaque that's been found to accumulate on the brain in people with Alzheimer's Disease is also the same plaque that gathers on teeth and causes cavities.
Lastly, one of the most recent discoveries is a link between esophageal cancer and gum disease. Once again, bacteria is believed to be the leading culprit behind this disease link. It makes a lot of sense: while the other two diseases in this article rely on bacteria and plaque making the leap to the bloodstream in order to cause disease elsewhere in the body, saliva is constantly flowing from the mouth to the esophagus. If your saliva is teeming with bad bacteria that causes tissue damage, it stands to reason that it harms the esophagus, too.
If you're determined to have a future that's as healthy as possible, it's imperative that you not leave out the health of your mouth. Taking care of your gums and teeth today could help to protect the health of your entire body years from now. If your oral health isn't what it should be, contact a dental office like Little Peoples Dentistry to begin the process of taking better care of your teeth and gums.