Generally people in Pakistan are unaware of the concept of flossing, and more than half of the population does not brush their teeth twice a day. Are you one of them? If yes, then this article will make you want to reconsider.
The general concept is taking caring of your teeth and gums prevents cavities and bad breadth. But the fact is dental health is directly related to one’s overall health. Extensive research has been carried out and has proved the relationship between poor dental hygiene and wide variety of diseases.
Proper dental hygiene and regular visits to the dentist not only protects a person from cavities, gum disease, tooth loss, and bad breadth but also from eight other diseases a person is at risk of.
Pathogens lurking in one’s mouth get inhaled and reach to the lungs, where they create chaos. This leads to a person being affected by hospital-acquired pneumonia. According to studies the occurrence of this type of pneumonia can be reduced by 40% by improving one’s oral hygiene. Another research carried out in Brazil concluded that patients with periodontitis are three times more likely to have pneumonia as compared to patients having no gum disease.
2. Brain Abscess
Abscess is accumulation of pus, surrounded by swelling and inflammation. Brain abscess is a rare disease, caused by bacterial infection. If it is left untreated then can be life threatening. A group of scientists examined a patient with brain abscess and concluded that the only cause of his illness was his poor dental health. They said, ‘A poor dental condition, notably destructive periodontal disease, can be a risk for life-threatening disease in other parts of the body‘. More other similar cases were reported proving the association between poor dental health and brain abscess.
It is known since many years that diabetes may lead to periodontitis, but new research is indicating that it can be the other way round too. Poor oral health may lead to insulin resistance and thus diabetes, due to increase in inflammation. Some studies have also revealed that in patients with both conditions, controlling periodontitis may improve diabetes control.
4. Chronic Kidney Disease
Research proves people with periodontitis were 4.5 times more likely to have chronic kidney disease rather than people having high cholesterol. Moreover, adults above the age of 60 are 27 times at a greater risk of chronic kidney disease as compared to young people and out of those adults those having no teeth are 11 times more likely to have chronic kidney disease. One more study concludes that periodontitis may pose a great risk to kidney disease, even after controlling the root cause of both.
5. Heart Disease
Various studies have proved the connection between gum disease and heart disease, both of which are related to inflammation. One study reveals ‘Adding oral health self-care… is prudent to improve patients’ oral health and possibly reduces [coronary heart disease]’. While the other concludes, ‘Periodontal disease caused by pathogen bacteria… could represent one of several possible causal factors of heart disease’.
In 2012 American Heart Association states, ‘Periodontal disease and heart disease share many underlying risk factors; there’s no reason to think that dental problems directly cause heart disease; and treating periodontitis reduces inflammation but does nothing to alter the course of heart disease’.
6. Pregnancy Complications
Pregnant mothers are urged to take care of their oral health because 60% to 75% of them are likely to be affected by gingivitis. As a result their child may develop cavities, lose birth weight, or have a preterm birth. The reason why this happens is still being studied and researchers predict it is due to either of the two causes: Either overall inflammation is heightened, or oral bacteria that enter the bloodstream eventually colonize the placenta, causing an inflammatory response.
People having periodontitis have an accumulation of Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium that leads to stomach ulcers on flaring up, due to the formation of plaque in the pockets beneath the gum line. Many epidemiological studies have proved the relationship between periodontitis and positive test for Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that can be transmitted orally, which may also lead to stomach cancer. Different studies have different conclusions, but one thing is for sure that bacterial pockets that are established during periodontitis pose a risk to many types of bacterial growth and infection.
A researcher, after studying previous work proving association between poor oral health and cancer, says, ‘Recent evidence suggests that the extent and severity of periodontal disease and tooth loss may be associated with an increased risk of malignant disease’. Gum disease and dental problems are also linked to HPV, which is the root cause of 80% of oral cancers. A study carried out last year that included 3,439 people with poor oral health found out that they are at a greater risk of having HPV, keeping their smoking habits into account as smoking is a major risk for gum disease and cancer. Other preliminary study suggests that periodontitis may encourage the growth of cancerous cells in the mouth.