It might seem like a hassle to have to brush and floss twice a day, but practicing good oral hygiene won’t just help you improve your appearance; it can actually save your life. Some major medical studies have linked poor oral hygiene to some potentially serious and even deadly diseases and problems. If you have been wondering exactly why you devote the time to brush and floss each day, or why you endure the pain of a regular dentist visit, here is a look at some of the diseases and health problems poor oral hygiene has been linked to.
Heart Problems such as Heart Attacks
A recent medical study suggested that men who have gingivitis or periodontal disease are twice as likely to also experience a heart attack or other serious heart problems. While health care professionals are unsure exactly why this happens, it is believed to be because the bacteria from the mouth slowly enters the bloodstream and makes its way to the heart. When the bacterium gets to the heart it causes the blood vessels to expand which causes inflammation and excessive clotting within the arteries.
Dementia or Other Mental Confusion
Dementia and mental confusion has also been linked to poor oral hygiene. A recent study showed that people who had cases of gingivitis or periodontal disease tended to exhibit signs of early Alzheimer’s, dementia or extreme mental confusion. Health care experts believe that this is because the bacteria that forms in the mouth and causes many of the dental problems can easily enter the bloodstream. Once it enters the bloodstream the bacterium will travel up to the brain and cause infections or inflammation. Inflammation in or around the brain can cause extreme mental confusion.
Some healthcare experts believe that the bacterium is also linked to the type of plaque that happens as a result of Alzheimer’s. However, more studies are required to find out if that link is a real link or just speculation.
Increased Respiratory Infections
The bacteria that can grow in your mouth as a result of bad oral hygiene can cause difficulty breathing or even upper respiratory infections. This is because the bacteria can easily be inhaled and enter the lungs. When the bacterium enters the lungs it can cause inflammation or even spread an existing infection from the mouth to the lungs. Health conditions such as asthma or COPD have been linked to poor oral hygiene in men.