What happens to your teeth when you don’t take practice good oral care? About half of Americans don’t floss daily, and one in five don’t brush twice daily, so you’re not alone if you fall into this category. According to the American Dental Association, taking care of your teeth and gums isn’t just about preventing cavities or bad breath. You may change your daily habits after reading this article.
Besides cavities, poor dental hygiene and neglecting daily oral care can have a profound impact on your health and longevity. There is mounting evidence that shows an association between poor dental hygiene and a wide variety of illnesses.
An oft-quoted saying dentists use is, “You don’t have to brush all of your teeth, just the ones you want to keep”. If you’ve never worried about losing your teeth, you should start. Adults 20 to 64 have lost an average of seven (permanent) teeth, and 10 percent of Americans between 50 and 64 have absolutely no teeth left. Both cavities and gum disease can cause tooth loss.
Your gums are not supposed to bleed when you brush and floss your teeth, so if yours do, you likely have gum disease. More than half of Americans have gingivitis, the milder form of gum disease, which makes gums red, swollen, and quick-to-bleed.
If plaque spreads, the immune response heightens and can destroy tissues and bones in the mouth, creating pockets between the teeth that can become infected. At this stage, gum disease is called periodontitis, a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue and destroys the bone that supports your teeth. Periodontitis can cause teeth to loosen or fall out, and although it is common, it is largely preventable and is usually the result of poor oral hygiene.
If you think onions, garlic, and spicy foods are the only things that cause bad breath, think again. Poor oral hygiene is a major cause of halitosis because bacteria thrive in warm, dark, and moist places, such as your mouth. If you don’t remove the bacteria by daily brushing and flossing your teeth, it will flourish, causing cavities and bad breath.
Up to 65% of the population has halitosis due to food particles that linger on your teeth after a meal. The less you brush and floss, the greater the chances of potentially smelly bacteria building up in your mouth. While you’re brushing your teeth, don’t forget to brush your tongue. Smelly bacteria like to hang out there too.
Dentists have long known that diabetes is a risk factor for periodontitis, but now research is beginning to indicate that the relationship may be a two-way street. Poor dental health may be a risk factor for insulin resistance diabetes, largely because it increases inflammation. Some studies have even indicated that in patients with both conditions, controlling periodontitis may improve diabetes control.
According to a study cited in the American Journal of Kidney Disease, people with periodontal disease were 4.5 times more likely to have chronic kidney disease (CKD). The study confirmed that periodontitis may be a significant risk for kidney disease.
Multiple studies have suggested that there is a connection between gum disease and heart disease. People with gum disease are twice as likely to have coronary artery disease. Doctors think it results from bacteria in your mouth entering your bloodstream. These bacteria attach to plaque in your arteries, which causes inflammation and increases your chances for developing clots and blockages that lead to heart attacks. Daily oral care is crucial and according to one study, improved oral health possibly reduces coronary heart disease.
Expectant mothers with poor dental health are associated with low birth weight babies and preterm birth. Researchers suspect that one of two mechanisms may be at play: Either overall inflammation is heightened, or oral bacteria that enter the bloodstream eventually colonize the placenta, causing an inflammatory response.
Researchers have discovered that people who don’t take care of their teeth regularly were up to 65 percent more likely to have dementia. Bacteria associated with poor dental hygiene may cause this problem by spreading to the brain through the cranial nerve that connects to the jaw through the bloodstream.
What’s the bottom line? It’s all about the bacteria. Your mouth provides the right environment for more than 700 different strains of bacteria to grow. Most of them are harmless, but a few can create a variety of health problems if not eliminated through daily oral care. Brushing your teeth cleans the tops and sides of your teeth, but brushing can’t do anything about the spaces between teeth where food gets stuck. Flossing is the only way to remove bacteria and food from these tight spaces because bacteria grows in the areas that you can’t reach with a toothbrush.
Taking care of your teeth should be an important part of your daily routine and a lifelong habit from early childhood on. Your best weapons against disease and cavities are your toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste, dental floss twice a day, along with regular check-ups with Dr. Shane S. Porter at Premier Dentistry of Eagle. Routine check-ups with Dr. Porter help to provide a little extra motivation to brush and floss on a regular basis.
Even the healthiest patients need regular dental checkups. There are likely areas in your mouth that have underlying problems that you can’t see on your own. A visit to Dr. Porter can help you keep your mouth healthy and avoid problems.
Premier Dentistry of Eagle is located at 467 South Rivershore Lane in Eagle, Idaho and is easily accessible to patients in the surrounding communities of Star, Nampa, Middleton, Meridian, Garden City, and Boise. Call today for an appointment at (208) 546-0655 or contact us online.
You only get one set of natural teeth. Take care of them every day so they will last a lifetime.