Beyond a Pretty Smile: 9 Surprising Health Benefits of Good Oral Hygiene

When you ignore your oral health, bacteria and plaque can build up on your teeth and gums. Without treatment, this plaque can harden into tartar and lead to gingivitis. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, or periodontal disease.

Common signs of gum disease typically include:

As gum disease progresses, it can create serious dental issues, such as oral infections, tooth decay, and tooth loss. But the risks of gum disease aren’t limited to your oral health. The bacteria in your mouth that causes gum disease can spread well beyond your gums and penetrate your entire body.

Fortunately, Indra Quagliata, DDS, and her team at IQ Family & Cosmetic Dentistry can treat gum disease at all stages. Dr. Quagliata can also help you protect your overall health by preventing gum disease from developing in the first place.

But don’t take our word for it. Here are nine surprising health benefits of good oral hygiene.

1. Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease

When bacteria from your mouth enter your bloodstream, they can build up inside your arteries and harden. This type of artery buildup can cause a dangerous condition called atherosclerosis, a serious form of cardiovascular disease. Also known as heart disease, cardiovascular disease is responsible for 1 in 4 deaths each year and is the leading cause of death in America.

2. Protects your brain cells

When you have tartar buildup, your mouth also releases substances that can kill your brain cells. When combined with the oral bacteria entering your bloodstream and nerve channels, this can increase your risk of developing memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease.

3. Fewer diabetes complications

Periodontal disease and high levels of oral bacteria can interfere with your ability to manage your blood sugar levels, making it more challenging to control diabetes. In the advanced stages of gum disease, it’s also common for your blood sugar production to increase.

4. Lower risk of developing kidney disease

Having high levels of oral bacteria not only increases your chances of having chronic kidney disease, but it can also raise your risk of death if you’re an older adult already living with the condition.

5. Less joint inflammation

When you have unmanaged oral bacteria, it can introduce inflammation throughout your body, which can increase your risk of developing inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis, one of the most common forms of arthritis, is a condition that occurs when you have inflammation in your bodily systems, like your joints, heart, and blood vessels.

6. Better respiratory health

Oral bacteria can enter your body several ways, from your bloodstream to the air you breathe. Each time you take a breath, bacteria from your mouth go straight to your lungs. This can leave you vulnerable to respiratory infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

7. Decreased cancer risks

While practicing good oral hygiene won’t guarantee you’ll be cancer-free, it will reduce your risk of developing many types of cancer, especially those in your blood. By reducing oral bacteria, there is less chance for it to get in your bloodstream.

8. Improved fertility and healthier pregnancies

If you’re struggling with fertility issues, you might want to check your teeth. Gum disease not only affects the hormones progesterone and estrogen, but it can also have an impact on fertility treatments. Having mild or severe or gum disease can also cause early deliveries and low birth weights during pregnancy.

9. Improved sexual performance

Oral bacteria in your bloodstream can cause a variety of health issues, including inflammation in your blood vessels. In men, this can trigger erectile dysfunction. When your blood vessels grow inflamed, you can experience a decline in blood flow to your genitals. This can affect your ability to get or sustain an erection.

You can take the first steps in protecting your health by brushing and flossing your teeth regularly. In addition to your oral health regimen, Dr. Quagliata also recommends regular professional cleanings to remove tartar buildup.

Experience the benefits of good oral hygiene for yourself. Call IQ Family & Cosmetic Dentistry or schedule an appointment online today.

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