There’s more to a healthy mouth than just a sparkling smile. Your dental health is directly connected to your overall health. Learn how healthy oral health habits can reduce your risk of these 3 health complications:
1. Stomach Ulcers
Poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease, resulting in bacteria and plaque buildup . One type of bacteria in particular, Helicobacter pylori , is responsible for causing stomach ulcers. This type of bacteria is more present in people with gum disease, increasing their risk for stomach ulcers.
2. Heart Disease
Chronic inflammation from gum disease is associated with heart disease . Studies show that up to 91% of patients with heart disease have gum disease too. Inflammation in the mouth caused by gum disease can cause inflammation in the blood vessels, because the inflamed blood vessels allow less blood to travel to the heart . Gum disease also raises the risk for fatty plaque to build up in the blood vessels, which could break off and travel to the brain , causing a heart attack. Other factors such as smoking, diet and weight are associated to gum and heart disease.
3. Respiratory Infections
A healthy mouth can help keep your lungs strong. Bacteria in your mouth can increase the amount of bacteria in your lungs. Respiratory infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis are caused when bacteria from the throat is inhaled into the lower respiratory tract . A study published in the Journal of Periodontology found that among people hospitalized with respiratory infection, those with gum disease had worse infections than those who did not have gum disease.