If you think that forgetting to brush and floss every day negatively affects your breath alone, think again! Good oral hygiene benefits the entire body. Conversely, when teeth become victims of neglect, systemic health declines along with it. Listed are the most common health complications related to/stemming from poor oral hygiene:
Stroke: Disease-causing bacteria in the mouth (when left untreated) lead to clogging in the Cartoid Artery. This clogging dramatically increases your chance for a stroke.
Have you ever seen the red, puffy gums associated with gingivitis or other periodontal disease? Gingivitis itself means “inflammation of the gums” as the suffix “-itis” indicates inflammation of any type (bronchitis, gastritis, etc.) and “gingiva” literally means gums. Inflamed gums cause blood to pump constantly into the mouth, putting excess stress on the heart. Has it ever occurred to you that the same plaque that collects on your teeth is related to the plaque that also builds up in your arteries? Excess plaque on your teeth enters the bloodstream through the gums and collects as plaque buildup in your arteries.
Heart Disease: Gingivitis will double your chances for developing heart disease and/or arterial narrowing. This is also caused by periodontal bacteria and plaque entering your bloodstream through the gums. One famous study on the subject endorsed by the ADA found that doctors can use periodontal dise
ase, cavities & missing teeth to predict heart disease just as accurately as they can use a person’s cholesterol levels.
Respiratory Problems: The same plaque-building bacteria caused by periodontal disease can also travel through a person’s bloodstream to the lungs. This can aggravate the respiratory system, especially if a pre-existing condition is already present. At that point, the best dentist in Utah couldn’t reverse the adverse effects of poor habits with just a simple cleaning.
Erectile Dysfunction: One of the most profound examples of the health risks associated with periodontal disease is found in men. When periodontal bacteria travelling through the bloodstream enflames blood vessels, this can block blood-flow to the genitals. Men with gingivitis disease are up to SEVEN TIMES MORE LIKELY to experience erectile dysfunction than men without it.
These complications and others are serious and almost 100% preventable if you take care of your teeth by brushing, flossing, and scheduling a regular annual cleaning with your dentist. If you are concerned about the risks associated with poor oral hygiene, or just want to schedule a routine cleaning, please contact any Platinum Dental Office to schedule your appointment today.
The author lives in Layton, Utah.
Oral cancer is one of the most deadly cancers because it often goes untreated. This lack of reaction often comes not because oral cancer symptoms are hard to diagnose, but rather because symptoms that can often be ignored or dismissed by the patient. Too often oral cancer goes undiagnosed until it has already metastasized to another location or even spread throughout the body, and at that point the prognosis at this stage of discovery is much worse than if discovered in a localized intra-oral area.
Who is at Risk?
If you are over 40 and swish mouthwash with alcohol every day, use tobacco, consume alcohol heavily, or experience long-term exposure to the sun, you are at the highest risk of developing oral cancer. Additionally, oral cancer has also appeared in young people with no contributing lifestyle factors. Research has also revealed that contracting the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), particularly version 16, is conclusively linked to an increase in oral cancer in youth.
Symptoms to Look Out For:
- A mouth sore that does not heal
- A white and/or red patch of tissue inside your mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- A lump or mass in your mouth or neck
- Hoarseness that lasts for a long period
- Pain or numbness in your oral/facial region
- Pain in the ear of long duration
- A change in your voice
- Unexplained bleeding in your mouth
- Loose or painful teeth
- A denture that no longer fits well.
- Pain or difficulty moving your tongue and/or jaw
How can You Reduce Your Risk?
Recognize if you have any of the above mentioned contributing lifestyle factors that may increase your risk (mouthwash, tobacco, alcohol, sun or unsafe sex) and be aware of their contribution to your systemic health, reducing use and risk where possible. Additionally, (you guessed it) practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly. If you are concerned, do not hesitate to request a comprehensive oral cancer screening from your Dentist at least once/year. At all Platinum Dental Care offices, our staff perform a comprehensive oral cancer screening in every appointment. Until your appointment, you may conduct a self-exam using a mouth mirror (available at most pharmacies) at least 3-4 times/year. Finally, increase your consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables and get regular exercise.
Reducing your risk for oral cancer is easy to do, and recognizing symptoms early is important for cancer survival. Luckily, when diagnosed early, oral cancer can be treated successfully nearly 100% of the time. Please use these suggestions to reduce your own risk and the risk of those around you, and keep an eye out for early signs. If you have any doubt, do not hesitate to visit Platinum Dental Care office near you as soon as possible.
If an adult tooth falls out of the mouth, schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately, ideally within 30 minutes of the tooth being outside the mouth. Saving the tooth depends on getting into the dentist as soon as possible, and until you do, these are the steps you should take in order to ensure that your natural tooth is preserved once it has been outside of the mouth for an hour or more.
Step 1: Touch the tooth only by the chewing, normally visible surface and NOT the root.
Step 2: If the tooth is dirty, gently rinse with warm water. Do not scrub, use toothpaste or soap, dry the tooth, or wrap in tissue/cloth.
Step 3: Reposition the tooth in the socket if you can.
Step 4: If you cannot reposition the tooth in the socket, keep the tooth in milk or tuck it in your mouth next to your cheek. KEEP THE TOOTH MOIST AT ALL TIMES.