Poor Dental Hygiene’s Disastrous Effects

Poor Dental Hygiene’s Disastrous Effects

Dental Services in Prescott, AZ

It is common knowledge that neglecting one’s oral health can lead to tooth decay, pain, and gum disease. However, as detrimental these consequences may be, there are emerging studies that link much more serious illnesses with poor dental hygiene. If you don’t think your teeth are a top priority, a few titles might make you pause or change your tune: Alzheimer’s disease, Pancreatic cancer, and heart disease.

Alzheimer’s Disease

A 2010 study from New York University has shown a link between Alzheimer’s disease and gum inflammation. The study was based on 20 years of data, and 152 subjects enrolled in the Glostrop Aging Study – examining medical psychological, and oral health in Danish people. The team saw that gum disease in 70-year-olds had a strong association with poor scores for cognitive function.

The participants with gum inflammation were 9 times more likely to score in the lower range of the cognitive test.

The link may be based on the fact that there is significant evidence showing that 2 of 3 bacteria responsible for gum disease are capable of motion and can travel to the brain via nerves or blood circulation system.

Pancreatic cancer

Another study from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, MA in 2007 reported a strong link between gum disease and pancreatic cancer. Periodontitis, which can cause bone loss around the base of teeth, was the type of gum disease associated with pancreatic cancer.

This study which involved over 51,000 men dating back to 1986, showed men with gum disease were 64% more likely to suffer from pancreatic cancer.

However, another study in 2012 could not definitively say whether the cancer was the cause of periodontitis or the other way around.

Heart Disease

The most commonly known and accepted link is between Heart disease and dental hygiene. Researchers from the University of Bristol in the UK and the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin found that people with bleeding gums enable bacteria to enter the bloodstream and stick to platelets, forming blood clots, which can result in interrupted blood flow and heart attacks.

Interested in avoiding finding out for yourself whether there is truth to these studies? Check out our previous articles on dental services in Prescott, AZ, or contact the physicians at Prescott Dentistry for more information.

Image used under creative commons license – commercial use (10/10/2014) bark (Flickr)