Many parts of the body are reliant on the health of other parts, and a problem in one area can have far-reaching effects. One area of the body that’s crucial to overall health is the teeth, and poor oral health has been linked to a variety of health problems you’d never expect. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
A healthy tooth has about 1,000 to 100,000 bacteria living on it. A dirty tooth can host up to 1 billion bacteria. Not keeping your teeth clean can have serious effects on your health. Read on to find out exactly how.
Periodontal disease affects the bones and gums around teeth, and studies have connected it to health problems such as heart disease and stroke. According to a study of more than 11,750 adults published in the journal Hypertension, researchers found that half of people being treated for high blood pressure also reported having gum disease. Scientists think inflammation in the gums might trigger or worsen inflammation in other areas of the body, including arteries. “Although the connection is not fully understood, some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause,” says the Mayo Clinic.
A study published in JAMDA: The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine found that the more teeth a person loses, the greater their risk of developing dementia or cognitive decline. Researchers determined that for every tooth lost, a person had a 1.1% greater risk of developing dementia and a 1.4% greater risk of experiencing cognitive decline. The relationship between lost teeth and brain issues might involve nutrition, exposure to oral bacteria or socioeconomic status. In any event, it’s a good reminder to keep regular dental appointments and prioritize your oral health.
If you don’t take care of your teeth and oral health, germs in the mouth may raise your risk of lung problems. “Certain bacteria in your mouth can be pulled into your lungs, causing pneumonia and other respiratory diseases,” says the Mayo Clinic.
RELATED: 7 Health Habits to Stop After Age 60
The natural effect of time and wear on teeth can lead to cracking, cavities and plaque buildup. If you neglect regular trips to the dentist, this can lead to chronic pain and malnutrition. Drink tap water, not bottled, to expose your teeth to strengthening fluoride. And a fluoride rinse can help reinforce teeth and keep gums healthy—use one twice every day. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.