Shocking Evidence That Dental Health Impacts Heart and More
Poor dental habits lead to more than an unhealthy mouth. Even with regular exercise, eight hours of sleep a night, and regular checkups, achieving optimum health will be tricky without proper dental care. In fact, if you’re not taking care of your teeth and gums the right ways, you may be putting yourself at risk for heart disease and more.
Excellent health starts in the mouth. Learning simple ways to improve your oral health will benefit the rest of your body too. Read on and I’ll share with you what you need to know.
Gum Disease Contributes to Many Other Diseases
A poor dental care routine leads to unhealthy bacteria in the mouth. You might think that means nothing more than bad breath. But think again.
In an attempt to combat the bacteria, the body produces an inflammatory response. Unfortunately, when gum disease causes inflammation in the mouth, it doesn’t stay in the mouth. Rather, the inflammation spreads, becoming a problem in the rest of the body too. Even low-grade gum disease can cause serious problems for overall health in the form of chronic inflammation.
How? Well, inflammation is designed as the body’s immune response. In a healthy scenario, local swelling brings blood and nutrients to the site of injury, helping your body heal. However, when inflammation continues unabated, it becomes chronic. This can lead to destruction of cells and stress on the body, which is potentially life threatening.
For instance, inflammation in the brain can kill off brain cells, contributing to Alzheimer’s. In other parts of the body, it leads to other fatal outcomes. Heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, lupus, neuropathy and others are all linked to inflammation. Luckily, a good dental routine can help curb such dangers.
Imbalanced Oral Bacteria Lead to Immune Problems
In an ideal situation, your mouth has a thriving colony of good bacteria that help combat the deleterious effects of bad bacteria and even viruses. When this bacteria is healthy, it helps you fight off disease, performing a crucial immune-boosting service. These good bacteria provide other valuable services as well, making vitamins and aiding in digestion, which begins in the mouth.
Poor dental habits compromise the delicate balance of bacteria in your mouth. We’re not just talking about forgetting to brush and letting the bad bacteria run rampant. Sure, this impacts your teeth because as bad bacteria metabolize carbohydrates, they produce acid that eats away at enamel.
But an over-aggressive regimen that uses strong, antibacterial mouthwashes not only kills off the bad bacteria. It also kills the good bacteria. Exciting new research shows that good bacteria in the mouth are an important part of the immune system.
You can protect the right balance of these microbes by brushing regularly with a gentle toothpaste. Make sure it is free of chemicals such as triclosan, sodium fluoride, and chlorhexidine. Those chemicals have harmful effects on your health and can damage the balance of the good bacteria you want to keep.
Fluoride Is Not Good for Bones or Teeth
Fluoride has a reputation for strengthening and saving teeth. While it does build up a tough outer layer on teeth, it may not be the right type of protective layer. Using fluoride stimulates the formation of a mineral called fluorapatite. While enamel is somewhat flexible and resistant to trauma, fluorapatite is not. It is resistant to scratches, but strong force will shatter it.
This is problem not just for teeth. When we use fluoride, it travels throughout our other systems too. Fluoride creates fluorapatite layers in bones as well as teeth. When these bones experience trauma (a fall), they fracture or shatter more easily. This is an excellent argument for keeping fluoride out of your system.
But there’s another: fluoride is toxic. Children can die from fluoride poisoning in toothpaste, and have. Even though adults don’t die of fluoride poisoning, this is still proof of its noxious nature. Since many municipal water systems routinely fluoridate water, this is another source of the chemical. Considering in some ways you can’t avoid it (if you drink city water), steering clear where you can is a good idea.
Good Eating Is a Keystone for Health
Perhaps the most obvious way in which your overall health starts in the mouth is with food. The things you eat and drink have an enormous impact on the proper functioning of your bodily systems as well as your longevity.
Cigarettes are particularly harmful for dental health and overall health. It’s no secret that cigarette smoking is linked with a long list of diseases. Add to that list gum disease. And while you might once have been quick to dismiss gum disease as merely unsightly, hopefully this article has convinced you otherwise. It can be a serious matter. If you currently smoke, I strongly encourage you to at least reduce the amount you smoke.
Alcohol can also harm your dental health and thus your overall health. While occasional drinking may not be a major problem, frequent alcohol consumption undoubtedly is.
As you can see, there are many ways you can help or harm your body, all starting with the mouth. The takeaway? Proper oral care is pretty simple. Brush daily with gentle, non-chemical toothpastes. Stay away from fluoride, which is bad for bones as well as teeth, and keep an eye on what you eat, drink and inhale. Your mouth, and your body, will thank you.