- On March 6, 2016
No part of the human body exists in a vacuum and pain or health problems in one area can lead to issues in another. Dental health is often seen as purely a cosmetic concern, but the reality is that poor dental health can have devastating consequences on major systems throughout the body.
The health of your teeth and mouth can affect other parts of your body, including:
Bacteria on the teeth and gums can cause inflammation and oral health issues, but when the bacteria leaves the mouth, it can cause serious problems in the heart. Dentists and cardiologists determined two distinct links between the health of patients’ teeth and the increased risk of heart disease.
First, periodontal disease and its associated inflammation introduce mediators into the bloodstream. Inflammatory mediators play a major role in atherosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries that contributes to blockages and poor blood flow. In time, the blockages can lead to heart attack or stroke.
The second issue is when the bacteria infect the heart itself, causing endocarditis. Both conditions are potentially fatal.
Many mental health issues are still largely a mystery to scientists and doctors, though they are making headway in the study of dementia. One of the surprising discoveries has been the link between poor dental health and poor mental health in patients, often leading to early onset dementia.
Researchers believe that the bacteria causing inflammation of the gums can break off into tiny particles that make their way into the brain. Once those substances come in contact with brain matter, they radically increase inflammation in the brain, leading to the death of important brain cells. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can follow.
Poor dental health is bad news for both men and women who wish to have children. For men, the inflammation problems caused by periodontal bacteria can increase the risk of blockages to blood vessels vital to erections and reproductive health. The risk is so great that men with poor dental hygiene are up to seven times more likely to encounter sexual difficulties than healthy men.
For women, the situation is dire. Studies have found that women with gum disease take up to 40 percent longer to conceive than healthy women, and when women with gum disease do have children, they run a high risk of premature birth. American gynecologists uncovered a correlation between infections in the mother’s body, including the mouth, and an increased rate of pre-term birth.
The increased presence of bacteria in the mouth from poor dental health leads directly to several different respiratory problems. Constantly breathing air tainted with bacteria can result in infections deep within the lungs, and the body can struggle to become well.
Pneumonia and bronchitis are the two most common ailments associated with oral bacteria in the lungs. Patients who develop pneumonia typically develop the condition as a result of both breathing the bacteria and bacteria in the bloodstream attaching itself to lung tissue. Bronchial issues are more likely caused by an aggravation of existing respiratory problems.
Dr. David Brumbaugh
Dental health affects every aspect of the patient’s body, and can have an impact on multiple body systems. Through proper care and treatment, patients can limit their risks of developing teeth and oral problems, thus improving their overall health in the process.
Contact Dr. David Brumbaugh to schedule an appointment before dental health issues lead to other complications. We can help you achieve a healthy smile and better health overall.