How poor oral hygiene can affect your general health

January 24, 2023by Anthony Oguguoko0

Poor oral hygiene can have several negative effects on overall health, including an increased risk of gum disease, tooth decay, bad breath, and even heart disease. It can also lead to an increased risk of infection, as bacteria can easily spread from the mouth to other parts of the body.

Poor Oral hygiene causes periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is significant because it leads to the loss of teeth and tooth-supporting bones. It is a pandemic with some 75% of adults worldwide affected by the disease to some extent. However, its true significance lies in its ability to cause life-threatening illnesses. 

Studies reported in the international medical and dental literature have documented heart disease, heart attacks, poor circulation in the extremities, diabetes, stroke, and pregnancy complications all of which have been attributed to periodontal disease.

The bacteria in your mouth can travel through your bloodstream and cause inflammation in other parts of your body, such as your heart, lungs, and kidneys. This inflammation can cause several health issues including an increased risk of stroke, high blood pressure, and even cancer.

Additionally, poor oral hygiene can lead to a decrease in self-esteem and confidence, as people may be embarrassed by the appearance of their teeth.  Finally, poor oral hygiene can also lead to an increase in dental costs, as regular visits to the dentist may be necessary o treat any issues that arise.

How periodontitis leads to Systemic illness: 

There are at least two mechanisms by which this is believed to occur and the two are probably related.

The first occurs when bacteria gain access to the body’s circulatory system through leaky blood vessels like those that are present in chronically inflamed gums. Certain species of bacteria have been shown to cause the formation of branched proteins in blood vessel walls which may trap fatty plaques and clot-producing cells known as platelets. Essentially, this process narrows the diameter of blood vessels to the point where oxygen-carrying red blood cells, immune cells, and other elements necessary to keep downstream tissues healthy can no longer get through.

The second mechanism is activated through the presence of long-standing inflammation somewhere in the body including chronically inflamed gingiva in response to chronic inflammation. The liver and cells that line the blood vessels produce a substance known as C-reactive protein (CRP). When CRP levels increase in the body, it could increase the chances of developing cardiovascular disease.

This is because C-reactive protein promotes blood clot formation instability of fatty plaques in arteries which may break free and travel through the circulation to the heart or brain and swelling of blood vessel walls all of which reduces the flow of blood through the vessels. 

Periodontal disease could further reduce the flow of blood to these small vessels, causing damage and possible tissue death. In addition, periodontal disease has been linked to an increased risk of stroke and heart attack.

Periodontal disease has been implicated as an independent cause of Type II Diabetes. Smoking impairs circulation and combined with other factors, it can be deadly. Elements in cigarette smoke also cause a narrowing of the small blood vessels. Consequently, smoking and diabetes combined with long-standing periodontal disease compound a patient’s risk of systemic health problems.

Therefore, diabetic patients need to practice good oral hygiene and receive regular periodontal evaluations and treatments. Treating periodontal disease can reduce the risk of systemic health problems associated with diabetes and smoking.

In conclusion, poor oral hygiene can have a significant impact on overall health. It is important to practice good oral hygiene habits to maintain good general health. It is no exaggeration to say that making a priority of good oral health may well save and improve the quality of life.

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