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As of 2021, over 3.5 billion people suffer from oral diseases. In the United States, 26% of adults have tooth decay and 46% have gum disease. Because bad oral health is this prevalent, most people know about the basic health risks that this poses. However, most don’t know that aside from directly oral-related issues, bad oral health can lead to many other more serious conditions.
Adverse Effects of Poor Oral Health:
Heightened likelihood of infections
The human mouth is the dirtiest part of your body and has been proven to house more bacteria than any other area. Thus, when one has a condition like a periodontal disease which causes the gums and the teeth to decay, this bacteria has a gateway directly into the bloodstream. This is what doctors believe can cause infections like endocarditis, bronchitis, pneumonia, and even rare conditions like burning tongue syndrome. These are only some of the bacterial infections that could stem from poor oral health.
The number one killer in America may be festering in your mouth. As the number of adults with cardiovascular diseases skyrockets to almost 50%, doctors have found a connection between plaque in the mouth and the arteries. Specifically, the bacteria from the gums can enter the bloodstream and cause hardening over time. This often leads to poor blood flow and blockages, which causes heart attacks, high blood pressure, and strokes.
Development of dementia
Extensive research has proven that tooth loss significantly increases the risk of developing memory loss or early-onset Alzheimer’s — one of the most chronic conditions in the United States. This is because the teeth stimulate the part of the brain involved in memory and retention.
Losing teeth, then, decreases the signals sent to this part of the brain. Aside from this, studies suggest that infected gums release substances that can encourage brain inflammation. This, in turn, can lead to brain cells dying at a much faster rate.
Complications with reproduction
Poor oral health can also affect your chances of having a child. According to various medical journals, gum disease in men can cause pockets of bacteria to enter the bloodstream and inflame blood vessels.
This then obstructs blood flow to the genitals, causing erectile dysfunction. Meanwhile, in pregnant women, poor oral health could lead to poor health outcomes for their children. Research has also shown that pregnant women with periodontitis experience premature conception and have babies with low birth weight.
How to Improve Your Oral Health
That being said, there are ways to treat bad oral health. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may benefit from seeing a medical professional. Since a patient’s unique circumstances will heavily determine the treatment they need, it’s best to seek the advice of a specialist. If you’re unsure who to see, a competent hospital or clinic administrator with a health administration qualification will be able to help.
Using their training in healthcare leadership, they can effectively gauge your needs and connect you with the right doctor. For instance, if you’re in need of extracting seriously decayed teeth or gums which have pulled away, you’ll need the services of a doctor who’s completed a degree in dental surgery. Aside from this, some other treatments will include medicated toothpaste, regular tooth brushing, and avoiding certain foods.
Everyone knows the importance of good oral health, but it’s also time we pay attention to what bad oral health actually means. Aside from the typical cavities, lackluster oral health can lead to a myriad of other health risks which are substantially more difficult to treat. Thus, by educating ourselves on what problems bad oral health may cause, we can more proactively avoid them.