Throughout childhood, children are taught the importance of good oral hygiene, which includes brushing twice a day. Is this enough? Does it affect more than just your oral health? There have been many studies on this subject, but finding the truth can be challenging. Several studies have been criticized, and experts will need to wait a bit longer before truly determining whether poor oral health negatively impacts brain function. Based on the earlier findings, it appears that there is indeed a link between poor oral health and poor brain function.
What else is affected by poor oral health?
Quite a few things can be impacted by this. Brain function is not the only one. Poor oral health can negatively impact the heart. Men are especially at risk for cardiovascular diseases. Hundreds of bacteria from the gums can make their way to the heart and this can lead to the hardening of your arteries. You may experience thickening of the blood, which could lead to a blockage resulting in a heart attack or stroke. Because you breathe in air that has been contaminated by bacteria in your mouth, your lungs are also at risk. Generally, poor oral hygiene can result in inflamed and infected gums and teeth.
How does it affect brain function?
Aside from all the detrimental factors listed above, there has been research suggesting that poor oral health contributes to dementia. Essentially, if you have gingivitis, the bacteria may enter the brain through the various nerve pathways. In addition, bacteria can enter the brain through the bloodstream. According to some experts, this can cause dementia. Some believe it may even be the sole cause of the terrible disease.
Researchers at Rutgers University, New Jersey, conducted a recent study in which they examined whether poor oral health could contribute to brain dysfunction. The study primarily explored certain cognitive aspects and found that they have an impact on memory and general function, something that may surprise the average patient. According to the study, there is a significant relationship between oral health and memory. It is also noteworthy that oral health has the potential to influence complex attention and learning.
Additionally, there was a relationship between oral health and stress, or at least perceived stress. High levels of stress are associated with dry mouth. Good oral hygiene is even more important for the elderly. The downside of this is that it may lead to impaired cognitive function, episodic memory loss, or in the worst-case scenario, complete dementia.
How Can You Stop It?
Your first step should be to assess your own oral health methods. As a result, you could begin to develop better hygiene practices that could help safeguard you against any of the above issues. If you are unsure of where to begin, speak to your dentist. Make sure you are brushing your teeth at least twice a day, morning and night. Use a good toothpaste, preferably one containing fluoride. Make sure you are flossing every day to keep your gums healthy and prevent decay from developing between your teeth. Mouthwashes are effective in killing bacteria and, when used properly, can be advantageous as part of your oral health routine. Most importantly, be sure you see your dentist at least two times a year to have your teeth cleaned and examined.
Our Huntersville dentist is here to take care of all of your dental health needs. Contact Tate C. Langdon, DDS, PA today to schedule an appointment.