The human body has millions of bacteria, both good and bad, as part of a complex ecosystem required for it to function properly. These different types of bacteria have to be kept in a delicate balance, or health issues can arise. Nowhere is this more apparent than within your mouth. What can happen if you do not exercise proper oral hygiene?
Analysing the Risks
If the body's natural defences are in order and you practise good oral health care on a daily basis, then you shouldn't have too much to worry about. Most people know that they need to brush twice a day and floss properly in order to keep the bad bacteria under control.
While it is commonly understood that poor oral hygiene can result in infections such as gum disease or tooth decay, fewer people understand that the situation could lead to the development of other diseases.
In particular, when inflammation is present with periodontitis, a more acute issue associated with tooth decay, several other diseases in other parts of the body can materialise.
Modified bacteria associated with periodontitis can travel through your bloodstream and can infect other areas such as your heart. This bacterium can attach to the inner lining of the heart and produce a condition called endocarditis, which is an infection of the heart muscle.
More significant heart issues and cardiovascular problems can also be caused by infections and inflammation linked to poor oral care. These can include clogged arteries, stroke or heart attack.
Complications in Pregnancy
If you're pregnant, you should be particularly worried about the risks associated with periodontitis. It's possible that these can contribute to a premature birth or to an underweight baby.
Diabetes, for example, tends to reduce your body's resistance to any infection and this can mean you have a predisposition to develop gum disease. If you do develop gum disease, then you may have a difficult time controlling blood sugar, so more frequent periodontal care is important.
There may well be an association between tooth and bone loss and osteoporosis, which is the disease linked to brittle and weak bones.
What Should You Do?
The moral of the story is that you should spend as much time as you can on a daily basis looking after your teeth and gums, and don't forget to make regular visits to your dentist for checkups. Also ask your dentist for dental hygiene tips.