If you’re skipping dental cleanings and not brushing and flossing as consistently as you should, you might be setting yourself up for health problems down the line. At Appolon Dental Group, we want our patients to achieve and maintain good oral health. Not just so they can avoid dental problems, pain, and expensive procedures, but so their overall health benefits too. If you don’t take care of your oral health, your risk for other health problems increases. Learn about these health problems and find out how you can avoid them.

1. Dementia

With your teeth so close to your brain, it’s no surprise that poor oral health can affect the brain. A recent study found a strong link between gum disease and dementia. The study suggested that the bacteria that cause gum disease also have an association with the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. When gum disease occurs, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream and spread to the rest of the body. The bacteria contributes to dementia by traveling to the brain and killing brain cells which leads to memory loss.

woman resting on her couch with jaw pain

2. Cardiovascular Disease

No matter how much exercise you get or how healthy you eat, if you’re not maintaining good oral health, you’re at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. When the bacteria from gum disease enters the arteries, it can cause plaque to build up and harden. Once plaque hardens it can disrupt blood flow and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. In addition, it can cause blood pressure to rise.  Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death around the world. Maintain your oral health so you can help beat it.

3. Respiratory Infections

Another health problem that can occur due to poor oral health is respiratory infections. When your mouth is filled with bacteria, it can easily travel to the lungs when you inhale. It can also reach the lungs through the bloodstream. Those with poor oral health have a higher risk of developing pneumonia, acute bronchitis, and COPD.

4. Pregnancy Complications

If you’re pregnant, you’re likely already taking extra precautions to take care of your health so you can give birth to a healthy baby. However, if you’re not taking care of your oral health and you experience gum disease, it can lead to pregnancy complications such as premature birth and low birth weight. Unfortunately, the risk for gum disease and cavities increases with pregnancy from vomiting as a result of morning sickness. Make sure to keep a toothbrush and toothpaste handy during the morning sickness phase of your pregnancy.

5. Diabetes

Oral health and diabetes are a double-edged sword. Poor oral health can increase the risk of diabetes and having diabetes increases your risk of gum disease and makes it more difficult to control. If you don’t already have diabetes, it’s important to know that gum disease can increase blood sugar levels which increases your risk of diabetes.

6. Erectile Dysfunction

Men with poor oral health have a higher risk of developing erectile dysfunction (ED). When a man has chronic gum disease, the bacteria travel through the bloodstream to the genitals while inflaming the blood vessels in the process. If too much inflammation builds up, it can interrupt the blood flow to the genitals which makes erections difficult or impossible to achieve.

7. Infertility

There is also a strong link between gum disease and fertility problems in both men and women. Gum disease can make it more difficult to get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy. A study found that it took two months longer for women with gum disease to conceive than those without. Gum disease can also lower sperm count and cause poor sperm mobility. Combine these issues with erectile dysfunction and you’ve got serious infertility problems.

8. Cancer

Another health problem that poor oral health contributes to is cancer. There are strong links between periodontal disease and kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, and blood cancer.

9. Kidney Disease

Kidney disease affects the heart, bones, kidneys, and blood pressure. Poor oral health increases the risk for kidney disease because it causes a weakened immune system. When you don’t have the best immune system, your body is unable to fight off simple infections. Instead, infections will only get worse and cause serious damage.

10. Rheumatoid Arthritis

The last health problem you can experience as a result of poor oral health is rheumatoid arthritis. Those with periodontal disease are four times more likely to have rheumatoid arthritis than those who don’t. Both periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis have high inflammation levels in common. Therefore, if you have periodontal disease, your risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis increases significantly.

Schedule Your Next Dental Cleaning in Midtown Manhattan Today

If you want to avoid all the health problems discussed above, your best defense is good oral health. Start by brushing twice per day and flossing once per day. Aside from your home regimen, you should visit Dr. Appolon at Appolon Dental Care in Midtown Manhattan every six months for a dental cleaning and exam. We can also provide gum disease treatment, and other treatments you need to achieve better oral health. Contact us to book your next appointment by calling (212) 557-8668 today.