The benefits of good oral hygiene are well known. Brush and floss your teeth on a regular basis to avoid bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss, and expensive dental care! But did you know that a consistent oral hygiene regimen can provide many health benefits beyond the obvious? Here are 10:
- A Health Diagnostic Tool – Just as the eyes have been called the window to the soul, oral health has been called a window to your overall well-being. Many health complications manifest oral symptoms before others, and dentists are invaluable for the role they play in early detection. If your oral health is poor, there can be many symptoms that are difficult to trace. If, on the other hand, you maintain good oral health, then your dentist can use any symptoms that manifest to diagnose you or refer you to a specialist.
- Healthier Brain Cells – The scientific evidence linking poor oral health to brain issues has been established and continues to grow. In fact, the bacteria associated with periodontal disease has been found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. While gum disease may play a role in dementia, other research shows that people may suffer memory loss and a reduction in cognitive abilities due to poor dental health as early as age 30.
- Less Prone to Diabetes and Complications – There is a strong link between periodontal disease and diabetes. Some data suggests that people with gum disease are more prone to diabetes. Gum disease is certainly a common complication of diabetes and can make blood sugar more difficult to control due to the elevated oral bacteria levels.
- Reduced Risk of Heart Disease – Cardiovascular disease accounts for 25 percent of all U.S. deaths each year. Poor oral health plays a substantial role in those statistics. Oral bacteria that has entered the bloodstream often leads to atherosclerosis, which is the narrowing of arteries due to the accumulation of plaque.
- Better Lung Health – Oral bacteria can enter your bloodstream in a number of ways, including the air you breathe. In fact, a recent study found that non-smokers with periodontal disease were substantially more prone to lung disease than non-smokers with healthy gums.
- Lower Risk of Kidney Disease – Gum disease increases your risk of developing chronic kidney disease. Older adults who have kidney disease must be hypervigilant about periodontitis because it can lead to death.
- Less Joint Inflammation – Periodontitis fosters an environment in which your body can be under constant attack from inflammation. It can also lead to or exacerbate conditions of chronic inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
- Less Risk of Cancer – Good oral hygiene may be no guarantee, but it certainly reduces risk factors associated with many types of cancer, including those involving the blood due to the oral bacteria in the bloodstream. There is also some evidence that inflammation makes people more prone to cancer in those areas.
- Better Fertility and Healthier Pregnancies – Periodontal disease has been linked to infertility in both men and women. The bacteria associated with gum disease is also known to negatively affect estrogen and progesterone, which means it can cause fertility treatments to be less effective or not effective at all. Even gingivitis—the mildest form of gum disease—is known to cause premature births as well as low birth weights.
- Enhanced Sexual Performance – Oral bacteria that enters your bloodstream can cause a wide range of issues, including blood vessel inflammation. In regard to sexual performance, such inflammation can be particularly concerning for men. It can inhibit blood flow to the genitals and thus make achieving and maintaining an erection difficult.
Optimize Your Oral Health Care
Good oral hygiene is crucial not just for your teeth and gums but for your overall health and long life. Taking care of your teeth and gums begins at home but must continue with regular visits to your dentist. Jeffrey D. Clark, DDS, is a premier dentist in the Scottsdale area who welcomes new patients and provides a full range of preventative, restorative, and cosmetic dental treatments. Call Scottsdale Dental Excellence today at 480 585 1853 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Clark.