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Bad Teeth! Bad Gums! Poor Health! No Friends!

By on September 1, 2017
Dentist Holding Dental Tools

What You Don’t Know About Oral Hygiene Can Kill You or Worse

BY: DR. JOHN McELLIGOTT, DR. JOHN’S MEDICAL SOLUTIONS

Most people don’t associate bad oral hygiene with their overall health. Well, guess what, they are related, big time! How does this happen and why? After learning about the risks, you’ll likely never, ever ignore oral hygiene again.

What would you say if I told you that up to 90% of people with heart disease also have problems with their gums? This number compares to 66% with no heart disease and no dental/periodontal disease. So why does this happen? Bacteria from the teeth infect the gums and causes bleeding when you brush your teeth. This bacterium (bacteria) gets in your blood stream and infects the blood vessels of the heart, and infects the respiratory tract causing heart attacks, bronchitis, pneumonia, and even strokes.

Pregnancy can be affected including low birth weight, lung conditions, heart conditions, and learning disorders. All this is due to inflammation of the blood vessels caused by an unhealthy mouth (gums and teeth). Women have fewer issues than men, however, women can also have increased problems due to hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy. Although not conclusively proven as yet, researchers also think there is a link between women with osteoporosis (weak bones) and poor dental health.

BRUSH FOR 2 MINUTES AT LEAST 2 TIMES A DAY

Bad Breath & Friends

Are you loosing friends because your breath smells bad? The most common cause of bad breath is not brushing teeth often enough (or not at all). You should also be aware that regular brushing is not enough. Poor brushing technique can leave you well short of achieving good oral hygiene. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the following brushing techniques are critical to your dental health:

Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush.

The size and shape of your brush should fit your mouth, enabling you to easily reach all areas.

Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush can’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth.

Make sure to use an ADA-accepted, fluoride toothpaste.

Proper brushing technique also involves:

  • Placing your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums.
  • Gently moving the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
  • Brushing the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
  • Cleaning the inside surfaces of the front teeth by tilting the brush vertically and making several up-and-down strokes.

The ADA also says brushing your teeth is only a part of a complete dental care routine. You should also:

Floss daily between your teeth. Tooth-decay-causing bacteria lingers between teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth and under the gum line.

Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks.

Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams.

If food particles are allowed to collect in your mouth, bacterium can grow and cause “Zoo Breath.” Kissing is out, because your mouth and breath are nasty. Friends will avoid getting within two feet of your face. Smoking adds to the problem, plus causes mouth and throat inflammation. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, which decreases the blood flow to the gums, reducing their ability to fight infection. Smoking is also one of the leading causes of head and neck cancer, but don’t get me started on that!

Be Aware of Other Concerns

WebMD also lists potential conditions that may be impacted by poor oral hygiene:

  • Treating periodontal disease has been shown to reduce the pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Lung conditions
  • Periodontal disease may make pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease worse, possibly by increasing the amount of bacteria in the lungs.
  • Two studies have linked obesity to gum disease. It appears that periodontitis progresses more quickly in the presence of higher body fat.
  • Warning symptoms of periodontal/dental disease:
  • Red swollen gums
  • Tender gums
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums during brushing
  • Gums that are separating from your teeth
  • Pus appearing between your teeth
  • Noticeable changes in your teeth fitting together
  • Partial dentures that no longer fit.

Other diseases can accelerate the progression of periodontal/dental disease. These conditions affect the body as a whole, can incapacitate the immune system, and/or provide bacteria with sugar to proliferate faster and migrate to other sites in your body. The short list includes:

  • AIDS
  • Genetics
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes

The biggest factor in poor dental health is neglect or, in simple terms, just plain laziness. So, get busy with good dental hygiene. You’ll be healthier, live longer and have more friends too!

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