These 3 unexpected dangers of gum disease will make you want to go brush your teeth
(NaturalHealth365) According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of all adults have at least some degree of gum disease. Also called periodontal disease, gum disease is rooted in the build-up of a sticky substance called plaque on the teeth.
Simply put, plaque is ground zero for bacteria – which can irritate and inflame your gums.
You may have heard a rumor that having bad teeth and gums is associated with heart disease. Unfortunately, that’s not even the whole picture. It turns out that poor oral health is also linked with many other life-altering (and sometimes life-threatening) conditions.
Having gum disease is more dangerous than most people think
Gum disease is a frustrating and painful enough condition on its own. Common signs and symptoms include bloody, red, painful, and swollen gums, bad breath, tooth sensitivity, and pain with chewing.
But research shows that gum disease has also been associated with erectile dysfunction, respiratory problems, and the following serious health concerns:
- Heart disease. A major theory as to why poor oral health is correlated with heart disease – the number one killer in the United States – is that inflammation in damaged and infected gums can set off a cascade of inflammation throughout the body, including within the cardiovascular system. Another theory is that bacteria from your mouth can leech into your bloodstream via infected teeth and gums, leading to infections within the heart. In fact, a 2017 study published in the Journal of Oral Microbiology found that a type of bacteria commonly found in the mouth, called P. gingivalis, is the most common bacteria found in arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle!
- Cancer. The link between inflammation and chronic health disease is too strong to ignore. The fact that gum disease is hallmarked by inflammation offers another plausible explanation as to why research shows poor oral health is associated with a significantly increased cancer risk. Another possible explanation supported by science is that bacteria in the mouth can produce enzymes which promote tumor and cancer cell growth.
- Cognitive impairment. Studies have shown that the more teeth you lose, the greater your risk for cognitive decline as you age. Research has also shown that bacteria commonly found in the mouth can also be found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting a possible correlation to poor oral health and this life-threatening neurodegenerative disorder.
A few quick tips for improving oral health – and overall health and longevity
Take care of your teeth – you’ll regret it if you don’t! Keep your dentist’s advice in mind by practicing these good oral health habits:
- Brush your teeth at least twice per day, and ideally after each meal.
- Brush your teeth for at least two minutes using gentle motions – away from the gum tissue.
- Floss daily.
- Get your teeth checked at least once (or more) per year – depending on your health status.
- Avoid consuming foods and beverages with a lot of sugar – bacteria love sugar as much as humans do.
Editor’s note: To learn more about the dangers of poor oral health and (more importantly) how to protect your health – click here to gain access to the Holistic Oral Health Summit.
Sources for this article include: