What Health Problems Are Associated with Bad Teeth?

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What Health Problems Are Associated with Bad Teeth?

Neglecting your oral health can lead to a lot more than just a toothache. There are many health problems that are associated with bad teeth. Poor oral hygiene makes the rest of your body more vulnerable to the harmful bacteria that build up in your mouth. 

At Dr. Saba and Associates, we can help you improve your overall health by helping you maintain a healthy mouth. Continue reading to learn more about the medical conditions that are associated with poor oral hygiene. 

Five Health Problems That Are Associated With Bad Teeth

Bad teeth are often a result of gum disease (periodontitis), which is a type of mouth infection commonly caused by untreated tooth decay. According to the CDC, nearly half of adults over the age of 30, and around 70% of adults over 65 have gum disease. Let’s take a look at the different types of health problems that have been linked to gum disease and bad teeth.

1: Heart Disease

Did you know that gum disease can increase your risk of heart disease? Gum disease causes bleeding gums, which allows harmful bacteria in your mouth to enter your bloodstream. The bacteria can cause plaque buildup in your arteries, increasing your risk of blockages. Eliminating the plaque and bacteria in your mouth will help lower your risk for both gum disease and heart disease. 

2: Cancer

Recent research shows that people with advanced gum disease also have a higher risk of developing certain cancers. Kidney, pancreatic, and blood cancers have all been linked to gum disease. And if you smoke or use other tobacco products, you not only harm your teeth, you also increase your risk of developing oral cancer. Quitting smoking and taking good care of your oral health can help reduce your risk of these types of cancers. 

3: Dementia

In some cases, poor dental health can even affect your brain. Recent studies suggest that the bacteria that infect your gums and cause gum disease are linked to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Although gum disease on its own does not cause dementia, it can be one of the contributing factors. 

4: Arthritis

The bacteria that cause gum disease can also cause inflammation in other parts of your body. Increased inflammation from gum disease has been associated with rheumatoid arthritis. And, because it is an inflammatory disease, rheumatoid arthritis can in turn increase your risk of gum disease. 

5: Diabetes

Gum disease can also raise your blood sugar, increasing your risk of diabetes. Higher blood sugar levels also make diabetes more difficult to control. To complicate things further, the medications used to treat diabetes may cause dry mouth as a side effect. And because saliva helps you get rid of the bacteria in your mouth, dry mouth only makes gum disease worse.  

Preventing Gum Disease and Tooth Decay

Because tooth decay and gum disease are associated with so many health problems, prevention is key to improving your overall health. You can prevent tooth decay and gum disease by:

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes
  • Flossing your teeth gently every day
  • Visiting the dentist at least twice a year
  • Eating a healthy diet and avoiding sugary foods and drinks
  • Using fluoride toothpaste and alcohol-free mouthwash
  • Quitting smoking, vaping, or using other tobacco products

If you are showing any signs of gum disease, such as bleeding, tender, swollen, or receding gums, consult your dentist about treatment. Gum disease progresses quickly, and it is the leading cause of tooth loss. If you have gum disease, you need immediate intervention to preserve your smile and your health. 

Start Protecting Your Oral Health Today

Because so many health problems are associated with bad teeth and unhealthy gums, seeing a dentist regularly is vital to your health! Let us know if you have any medical conditions that put your mouth more at risk, such as diabetes or arthritis. Drs. Saba and Romanin in Sun Lakes, Arizona, will work with you to determine the best way to keep your mouth healthy. Whether you need restorative treatments or more frequent cleanings, we can help. Call us at 480-895-2111 today to schedule an appointment.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (8/30/2022). Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash