For most people, it is no big secret that poor oral hygiene habits will wreak havoc on their teeth and gums.  However, many people may be surprised to discover that subpar oral health can actually have much greater, far-reaching consequences.  Bad oral hygiene can be directly linked to a number of ailments throughout the body, some of which are far more inconvenient than a minor toothache!  If you don’t keep your gums and teeth in the tip-top shop, you may be vulnerable to numerous physical and mental illnesses, many of which are life-threatening in severe cases.

Respiratory Illness

Gum disease has been scientifically linked to incidences of lung infection and pneumonia.  The long-term, consistent breathing-in of bacteria that contribute to infected teeth and gums is at fault for cases of respiratory illness.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

There is a subtle but well-proven link between the gingivitis, a common gum ailment, and the onset of dementia.  The bacteria associated with gingivitis are able to travel throughout the body, either through the bloodstream or through nerve channels going up one’s head.  These mediums provide the bacteria with a pathway to reach the brain, where they may cause serious damage.  The damage caused to the brain by gingivitis bacteria can greatly improve the chances of contracting Dementia, or even possibly Alzheimer’s Disease.

Cardiovascular Disease

illness due to dental problemsThe bacteria associated with periodontal disease are capable of traveling in your bloodstream, through your arteries, and straight to your heart.  This can lead to atherosclerosis, a condition which involves the hardening of the arteries and muscles of the heart.  Atherosclerosis can severely inhibit your heart’s ability to pump blood, and forms a thick plaque on the walls of the arteries, thereby restricting blood flow.  The hampering of blood flow often results in incidences of heart attack or stroke.  In addition, periodontal bacteria can cause inflammation and infection in the heart, a condition called endocarditis.

Complications for Diabetics

Gum inflammation and periodontal diseases can be especially problematic for diabetics.  These oral ailments make it significantly more difficult to control blood sugar, thereby aggravating diabetic symptoms.  Furthermore, diabetics are more at risk for developing periodontal disease, making the issue a double-edged sword.  Adequate oral care is especially important for diabetic sufferers!

Immune System Disorders

Infections of the gums and teeth can heavily tax the body’s immune system, leaving fewer resources available for fighting other ailments.  The overwhelming biological stress can devolve into a severe compromise of the immune system, leading to further health complications over time.  Worst of all, the gradual suppression of immunity can make ridding yourself of any oral infections even more difficult!