Can poor oral hygiene affect your health?
Put simply, poor oral health impacts much, much more than the mouth. In a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, it was found that 35 percent of adults aged 50 to 64 reporting health problems also suffered from poor oral health.
Moreover, poor oral health severely diminishes the quality of life among people with poor general health. People between the ages of 50 to 64 reporting poor health were almost three times as likely to report that their life was less satisfying because of poor oral health.
Words to live by: good oral hygiene equals a healthy mouth.
How poor oral hygiene affects health
Poor oral hygiene is a bit like throwing gasoline on a fire. The mouth is already chock-full of about 700 strains of bacteria. Granted, some of these microbes aid with food digestion and gum protection. But most of these germs are accidents waiting for a place to happen.
Here are some of the health conditions resulting from poor oral hygiene:
- Cavities (tooth decay) are a typical problem associated with poor oral health. Small holes form in the teeth that can cause pain, time off from work or school, and needless time in the dental chair for fillings.
- Did you know that gum disease affects 50 percent of adults over the age of 30 in the United States? Without proper care and regular visits to the dentist, plaque can accumulate at the gum line and cause gingivitis, which causes swollen gums. If ignored, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, a serious disease that eats away the gum tissue and bone that keep your teeth in place. Advanced periodontal disease often leads to tooth loss.
- Loss of tooth enamel from poor oral care can cause sensitive teeth. When this happens, it becomes difficult to chew or to drink hot or cold liquids. Lost enamel makes your teeth sensitive to pain and, unfortunately, does not grow back once lost.
- Sometimes a seemingly innocent accident resulting from chewing ice can chip or crack a tooth. Not only are chipped teeth extremely sensitive, but they are also prone to cavities.
- Oral cancer affects about 50,000 people a year, striking twice as many men as women. The disease often affects heavy drinkers and those who smoke tobacco. At each dental cleaning, the doctor checks your mouth for growths and bumps which may mean cancer. These dental visits are important as cancer can get progressively worse if left unchecked.
Poor oral health and heart disease
Overall, people with good oral health suffer from fewer chronic diseases, including heart disease.
Recent research suggests that there is indeed a link between poor oral health and cardiovascular disease. These links include:
- An oral infection may generate inflammation associated with heart disease.
- Those with poor dental health typically have poor nutrition. In addition, those with missing teeth may be unable to eat a healthy diet. Heart disease is tied directly to good nutrition.
- Chronic gum disease puts people at a greater risk for heart disease or stroke.
- A loss of teeth is a sign of gum disease and also carotid artery plaques, which can lead to heart disease.
Poor oral health consequences
Think of the old ditty about bones: “the hip bone is connected to the thigh bone.” It’s the same thing with poor oral health; all parts of the body act in concert, so skimping with your toothbrush or not flossing can lead to several calamitous effects. It’s also critical to go to regular dental check-ups.
Direct consequences include:
Commonly known as bad breath, halitosis is a signal that the bacteria in your mouth are growing unhindered. Chronic bad breath should always be viewed as a bad sign and a risk factor for tissue breakdown and disease.
The hungry bacteria feed off of any remnants of food left between your teeth. After eating, the microbes discharge hydrogen sulfide that creates bad breath. This process can turn into gum disease, during which the bacteria and the body’s immune system destroy the fibers that anchor your teeth.
Respiratory Tract Infections
Can poor dental hygiene cause respiratory tract infections? The answer is a resounding yes. Excessive bacteria left in the mouth from poor oral hygiene can travel to the entire body. It’s not much of a trip to reach the tonsils and then travel down the windpipe to the respiratory tract. People with compromised immune systems sometimes even develop pneumonia.
Peritonitis is an inflammation of the tissue that lines the inner wall of the abdomen. While a direct relationship between peritonitis and oral hygiene has not be proven, studies have demonstrated that subjects that spent more time on their oral health were at lower risk of peritonitis.
Even your sex life can be affected by poor oral hygiene. Expert research shows that men with chronic peritonitis are seven times more likely to have difficulty getting or maintaining an erection.
Pregnant women with chronic peritonitis have a greater chance of premature delivery or have low birth weight babies.
Harmful bacteria in the mouth may play a role in changes in the brain – contributing to symptoms including confusion and failing memory. Recent studies even suggest that the same bacteria can cause Alzheimer’s disease.
Depression and poor oral health is a real thing. There is a connection between mental health and oral health: depression can cause stress, along with a rise in the release of a stress hormone known as cortisol. As a result, the immune system could take a hit, possibly boosting the risk of oral problems like gum disease
Other health issues caused by oral health problems include neck and head cancer, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, sleep apnea, and eating disorders.
What is the financial impact of poor oral health?
Having rotten or missing teeth can cause all kinds of problems when a person is pursuing a career or trying to have an active social life.
For example, a person with missing or damaged teeth may have low self-esteem and anxiety. Indeed, one in five people experiences anxiety and embarrassment because of the condition of their mouth. About 25 percent of these people avoid smiling altogether. Many people feel the appearance of their teeth negatively impacts their ability to interview for a job.
On the other side, hiring managers often shy away from giving people with poor or missing teeth roles that interface with the public. One report found that employers often make immediate judgments based on someone’s teeth. Furthermore, a common misconception is that people with poor teeth are not as smart.
One expert study suggested that poor teeth can contribute to a monthly income loss of between $2,600 and $3,750.
MD Periodontics are experts in building dental health
Dental professionals Dr. Moshrefi and Dr. Daneshmand are board-certified periodontists and members of the American Academy of Periodontology. Their masterful dental care skills and state-of-the-art equipment enable them to perform extractions and other periodontal procedures with exceptional results and marginal discomfort. They always listen to their patients if they express feelings of anxiety.
We are currently accepting new patients and offer state-of-the-art procedures including Ceramin Dental Implants, whitening, veneers, laser crown lengthening, bone grafting, cosmetic dentistry, periodontal maintenance, implant rehabilitation, and Invisalign® Clear Braces.
To schedule a consultation, click here or call us at (310) 859-9449. Your smile will thank you!
We are conveniently located to patients throughout Southern California and the Los Angeles area. Our board-certified periodontists and implant dentistry experts are available at locations in or near Santa Monica and Beverly Hills. We are conveniently located near West Los Angeles, Culver City, West Hollywood, Downtown Los Angeles, Marina del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Sherman Oaks, and Encino.
At MD Periodontics we take our patients’ safety very seriously. That’s why our facility’s Covid-19 patient safety procedures far exceed all CDC recommendations.
About Dr. Abdy Moshrefi, DDS, MS
An expert in implant dentistry Dr. Moshrefi is considered one of the leading periodontal artisans in California, known for fearlessly handling the most complicated dental reconstruction cases. His remarkably real-looking dental implants and restorations set him apart from other periodontic professionals. His warm and confident bedside manner combined with honesty and transparency lead to rave patient care reviews from formerly anxious patients.
About Dr. Nazy Daneshmand, DDS
Dr. Daneshmand is a board-certified periodontist and member of the American Dental Association. After studying biology at UCLA, she also graduated from USC’s Dental School with a doctoral and specialty training in Periodontics.
Dr. Daneshmand also specializes in the practice of “holistic dentistry,” which uses metal-free and toxin-free dental options. She offers patients solutions to full-mouth dental problems that are beneficial to her patient’s overall health. Dr. Daneshmand also excels in the field of antimicrobial therapy and non-surgical treatment of chronic periodontitis.
Dr. Abdy and Dr. Nazy have been married for over 20 years and have three children together.
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