Most of us know that poor dental hygiene can lead to tooth decay, gum disease and halitosis (bad breath). But did you know that not brushing your teeth might have more serious consequences? The following have been linked to gingivitis—where the tissue around the teeth becomes inflamed—and periodontitis, the inflammatory disease that destroys tissue supporting teeth and can cause bone loss.
Alzheimer’s Disease—Studies found Porphyromonas gingivalis, the same pathogenic bacterium involved with periodontitis, were present in Alzheimer brain samples. The bacteria was not found in those who didn’t have Alzheimer’s.
Diabetes—Gum disease has been found to be more frequent and severe among people who have diabetes. Because diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection, this can have a detrimental affect on your gums. And research indicates that those who have gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels. Regular periodontal care can possibly improve diabetes control.
Heart Disease—Risk is increased in people who have bleeding gums. Bacteria from the mouth enters the bloodstream and stick to platelets which can then form blood clots, interrupting blood flow to the heart and triggering a heart attack.
Pancreatic Cancer—Harvard School of Public Health researchers examined data on more than 51,000 men and found those with a history of periodontitis had a 64% increased risk of pancreatic cancer compared with those who never had gum disease.
Pneumonia—It is possible for some of the bacteria in your mouth can get into your lungs which can cause pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.