Poor oral health can be detrimental to your overall health. It comes in many forms, including dental cavities, gum disease, and tooth decay. It may also exacerbate conditions such as cancer, heart problems, and diabetes.
It’d help if you took the time to learn and understand how to take care of your oral hygiene because it’s a lifelong commitment. One of the steps you need to take in this regard is to visit a reputable dental clinic such as durangodmd.com. They can provide you with guidelines on caring for your oral health and help detect issues early on.
Having said that, here are the hidden dangers of poor oral health:
1. Oral Cancer
The chances of getting oral cancer are about 1 in 60 men and 1 in 141 women. It’s attributed to unhealthy behaviors like smoking and smokeless tobacco use. In addition, excessive alcohol consumption is also a contributor to poor oral health. It’d be best to avoid such practices to reduce the risk of oral cancer. Nonetheless, if you go for regular dental checks, it can be detected and treated early.
Subsequently, oral cancer can result from the oral human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease that can cause ‘oropharyngeal cancer’ at the back of the throat. You can speak with your physician about preventable measures and how oral hygiene can keep you safe. Nonetheless, an effective intervention measure can be initiated in the case of early detection.
2. Gum Disease
Plaque buildup can result in the inflammation of your gums. Bacteria from the plaque infect the gums, causing it to swell. If you don’t brush your teeth thoroughly, plaque can harden to tartar. Such hard deposits on the gum line are difficult to clean and can only be removed by a professional dentist.
If you experience any of the following signs and symptoms, visit a dentist to check for gum disease:
- Bad breath
- Partial dentures
- Swollen gums
- Sensitive teeth
- Pain when chewing
- Bleeding gums
You can prevent gum disease through proper oral hygiene. However, if you’re suffering from severe periodontal disease, it can be successfully treated through an extensive procedure, such as deep cleaning the root and surface of the tooth. You can also be prescribed oral medication positioned directly below the gums or recommended for corrective surgery.
3. Tooth Decay
Bacteria in the mouth cause tooth decay. They make acids that erode the tooth’s enamel, underlying dentin, and connective tissues. The damage to a tooth’s surface can result in the formation of holes known as cavities. If not addressed early on, these can result in permanent damage.
Some of the signs and symptoms to watch out for include the following:
Some of the signs and symptoms to watch out for include the following:
- Tooth Sensitivity
- Brown or dark spots on the teeth
- Bad breath
Your dentist may talk to you about several treatment options for tooth decay. These include the following:
- If the tooth decay is in its early stages, the dentist can apply fluoride gel or paste to the area, strengthening it and preventing acid corrosion.
- The dentist can also recommend filling the hole by removing the dental decay. This is a simple procedure, and the dentist can use local anesthesia.
- You can get root canal treatment if the decay has spread to the tooth’s center.
- If the tooth is completely damaged, the dentist may have to remove it. You can opt to have it replaced with an implant.
You should also watch your diet, the times you eat, and your sugar consumption. Moreover, regularly brushing your teeth and flossing can also help prevent tooth decay.
4. Cardiovascular Disease
You can also be at risk for cardiovascular disease because of poor oral health. This is because the bacteria on infected gums can sip into the bloodstream and set off inflammation within the heart vessels. These bacteria can also infect the heart valves, which can be detrimental if you already have a pre-existing condition, such as congestive heart failure.
A bacterial infection on the heart’s lining is called endocarditis. Its symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle and joint pain
- Fever and chills
- Swelling of the feet and belly
- Murmuring in the heart, which sounds like a whoosh
If you don’t experience any of the above symptoms, you can also watch out for the following:
- Sudden weight loss
- Blood stains in urine
- Tenderness of the spleen
- Hyperpigmentation on the fingers and toes
- Janeway lesions
Ensure you see a physician immediately if you experience any of the above symptoms. While they can be caused by something else, it’s best to have the doctor rule out endocarditis first.
Oral diseases such as gum disease can interfere with blood pressure control if you’ve already been diagnosed with hypertension.
On the other hand, hypertension can also be caused by poor oral hygiene. This can occur when bacteria and plaque enter the bloodstream through the gums. The plaque can line up blood vessels and cause high blood pressure.
Some of the symptoms of hypertension include the following:
- Headaches during early mornings
- Irregular heart rhythm
- Vision problems
- Buzzing in ears
Moreover, uncontrolled hypertension may result in nausea, fatigue, muscle tremors, anxiety, and confusion. Ensure that you immediately go to a physician for a checkup if you experience any of these signs and symptoms.
In some cases, gum disease may also result in high blood sugar levels, which may develop into diabetes. On the other hand, if you already have the said condition, you may have infected gums, making it difficult to control blood sugar levels.
That said, you should pay close attention to your oral health by regularly brushing and flossing your teeth. Moreover, any blood sugar anomalies could be detected if you undergo regular dental checkups.
7. Kidney Disease
If you have periodontal disease, you’re at high risk of getting kidney disease. This is because a weaker immune system makes you susceptible to kidney infection.
For a person with existing kidney disease, gum disease and tooth decay can trigger a kidney infection due to their systemic effects, such as inflammation, protein-energy wasting, and the hardening of arteries. If kidney infection remains untreated for a long time, it could result in kidney failure, which is life-threatening.
You can consider preventive measures such as regular brushing and flossing of your teeth to maintain oral hygiene. In addition, using fluoride-based toothpaste can help strengthen your teeth.
8. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Poor oral health may put you at risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) due to the bacteria in the mouth. When you’re suffering from periodontal disease, the microbial community is altered, setting off an immune response that can attack the body’s tissues.
Oral bacteria can also sip into the bloodstream through damaged gums. These bacteria can then travel throughout the body. In RA cases, oral bacteria have often been found in the synovial fluid, which is located between joints.
Moreover, some studies have concluded that the link between RA and oral hygiene lies in the microbe known as Porphyromonas gingivalis. It has a distinctive enzyme that interferes with the structure of proteins and makes the body view them as threats. Usually, the body reacts by producing antibodies that fight foreign proteins within the joint lining.
In some cases, inflamed gums have been connected to dementia due to harmful substances, such as beta-amyloid plaque, that may affect the brain cells. Ideally, when a person has gum disease, oral bacteria and inflammatory molecules can get into the bloodstream and travel to the brain. When the brain cells are attacked, you can lose memory as the bacteria continues to spread to the nervous system.
Research shows that most older adults with gum disease are more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia because of antibodies as a response to oral bacterium P. gingivalis which can combine with other bacteria, such as Campylobacter rectus, worsening memory loss.
Bacterial infection from gum disease can sip into the bloodstream and inflame the blood vessels. This may result in clots that can restrict blood flow to the brain, causing a stroke.
In addition, inflammation from gum disease can result in the hardening and narrowing of blood vessels, a condition referred to as atherosclerosis.
Therefore, adhering to oral hygiene practices such as regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups can help prevent stroke and detect oral issues early on.
Not a lot of people are aware of the fact that oral health is directly linked to one’s overall health. And, while it’s easy to ignore oral issues such as gum disease, it may result in the development of health conditions and the worsening of existing ones.
Nonetheless, there are ways you can prevent such risks. For one, it’d help if you regularly adhered to good oral hygiene practices. It’s also a must to visit your dentist as often as needed to help spot and address issues at their initial stages. In addition, you can schedule intensive oral cleaning annually or semi-annually to get rid of harmful elements that could endanger not just your oral health but also your overall well-being.