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Dr. Maria Luong Explains How Dental Hygiene Affects Your Overall Health

Originally published on medium.com

It’s common knowledge that having poor dental hygiene can lead to the formation of cavities, plaque, and staining of the teeth. It can also affect gums through gingivitis and periodontal disease. Yet what many people don’t know is that dental care plays a huge part in your overall health. As a highly experienced dentist, Dr. Maria Luong, has seen her share of cases where the lack of proper dental hygiene may contribute to complications in different parts of the body.

The Link Between Oral Health and Overall Complications

Much like the rest of the human body, the oral cavity is home to a large number of bacteria. The mouth is filled with roughly 700 different bacteria strains at any given time. Without frequent brushing and flossing, these bacteria are free to form a biofilm over the teeth and gums and create more of a permanent residence.

Eventually, bacteria can enter the bloodstream through the smallest wound in the oral cavity or simply by being breathed into the lungs.

Conditions Connected to Oral Health

· Dementia: Studies have shown that a simple case of gingivitis can turn into a cause for the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Bacteria can find their way into the brain through the bloodstream or nearby nerve channels.

· Pneumonia: Respiratory infections caused by poor dental hygiene do not happen overnight. However, breathing in harmful bacteria for an extended period of time can eventually affect the lungs and can lead to pneumonia.

· Pregnancy Complications: Research has proven that periodontal disease plays a role in cases of premature birth and low birth weight.

· Cardiovascular Disease: Since harmful bacteria can easily find their way into the bloodstream, it’s only logical that they can cause cardiovascular issues. Once in the blood, bacteria will travel through the arteries and into the heart. They can form a plaque on the inner walls of the arteries and gradually decrease and even block blood flow. This condition is called atherosclerosis. They can also harm the inner lining of the heart through infections and inflammation and cause the development of endocarditis.

· Diabetes Complications: Since diabetes leaves the body more prone to infection, the gums face a higher risk of developing gingivitis and periodontal disease. In turn, these conditions carry a negative impact on the control of blood-sugar levels.

Expert Advice

In order to protect the body from unwanted and possibly dangerous conditions, Dr. Maria Luong recommends the practice of good dental hygiene. You can prevent overall health complications if you:

  • Brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste up to three times a day.
  • Don’t forget to floss daily
  • Use an effective mouthwash
  • Don’t forget to change your toothbrush at least four times a year.
  • Maintain a balanced, healthy diet and avoid smoking.

And most importantly, do not miss regular dentist check-ups and cleanings. If you spot a problem, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

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