If you were to peer beneath the plaque to investigate what other – perhaps unexpected – health conditions are affected by poor dental health and possibly lurking in your mouth, you might be surprised at the results. There are three significant diseases that can be propelled further by neglected dental hygiene.
Periodontitis, or gum disease, is a gum inflammation associated with pancreatic cancer. The tissues that support the teeth cause loss of bone around the base of the teeth. The link between pancreatic cancer and gum disease dates back to 2007. Researchers found that high levels of carcinogenic compounds found in the mouths of people with gum disease were at greater risk for pancreatic cancer. These compounds may react to the digestive chemicals in the gut in a way that creates an environment conducive to the development of cancer of the pancreas.
The main type of gum disease is gingivitis, where the tissues surrounding the teeth become inflamed. If persistent, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, which is the link to pancreatic cancer. The main culprit is the bacteria that forms and isn’t thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis.
The association between dental hygiene and heart disease is better established. Since our mouths tend to be the dirtiest place in the human body, accumulating bacteria every minute, bacterial infections do pose a risk for developing heart disease. Oral bacteria such as Streptococcus Gordonii and Streptococcus Sanguinis are the main infecting agents that increase the risk of bleeding gums. Once the bacteria from the mouth enters the bloodstream, which can then form blood clots, it interrupts the flow of blood to the heart and triggers a heart attack. Good dental hygiene remains important for lowering the risk.
There is a strong possibility of a connection between gum inflammation and Alzheimer’s disease. The disease-causing bacteria are capable of motion and have been consistently foundin brain tissue. This bacteria gains access to the brain by two different routes entering the brain. One is a path taken whereby the bacteria crawls up the nerves that connect the brain and roots of the teeth. The other is a more indirect entry into the brain via the blood circulatory system. If a patient has bleeding gums, the gum disease-causing bacteria will enter the bloodstream every time they clean their mouth and eat food. By attacking the brain’s immune system in response to the gum disease, it also damages the functional neurons in the area of the brain related to memory.
A recommendation for twice daily brushings, flossing daily, and rinsing with mouthwash is your best defense in minimizing any risk factors. Good dental hygiene doesn’t only deter tooth decay, it helps with your overall health. Dr. Chao understands this and wants to help. Her skilled team at Pleasanton Prosthodontics has the tools to give your teeth and oral health the care they deserve. Contact their office to schedule a consultation, and learn more why the importance of proper dental health will create the longevity you’re seeking.
Dr. Maggie Chao
1475 Cedarwood Lane Suite C
Pleasanton, CA 94566
Monday: 9AM – 4:30PM
Wednesday: 9AM – 4:30PM
Friday: 9AM – 4:30PM