It can sometimes be all too easy for us to forget to brush our teeth. Unless we’ve been ingrained with the habit of brushing our teeth thoroughly at least twice a day, we may feel tempted to skip a brushing, just use mouthwash, or just go through the motions without really getting our teeth clean. But failing to brush and floss on a regular basis can lead to a buildup of dangerous plaque that can have effects that reach far further than just inside our mouths.
Gum Disease and Heart Disease
An increasing amount of research is going into the link between gum disease and heart disease. Both types of diseases involve plaque, although the plaques are of two completely different types. But people who suffer from gum disease have two to three times the risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular event.
Whether that is the result of those with poor oral health also neglecting other aspects of health such as exercise and good diet, or whether there is a direct link between gum disease and heart disease still needs to be fully investigated. But researchers speculate that there may be a link in that gum disease can lead to chronic inflammation, allowing bacteria into the bloodstream and keeping the body’s immune response elevated.
Gum Disease and Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease is another ailment that is associated with the buildup of plaque, this time in the brain. And while brain plaque again isn’t the same type of plaque as oral plaque, there is some indication that gum disease bacteria may play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s. Those who suffer from gum disease have a 70 percent higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s than those who don’t have gum disease.
Tests on mice have confirmed that gum disease bacteria can migrate to the brain, where they can destroy brain neurons. And medication that blocked the proteins created by those bacteria was able to stop the destruction of brain function.
While the link between gum disease and other ailments may not be proven yet, the correlation is too high to ignore. So the next time you think about not brushing your teeth or skipping a flossing session, just remember that you may be putting a lot more than just your teeth at risk.