6 Long Term Health Effects of Poor Oral Hygiene

People generally agree that good oral hygiene is essential to overall good health.  But do you know why?

Unfortunately, many of us don’t.  We know there is a connection; we’re just not exactly sure how deep that connection is.

This lack of knowledge has undoubtedly led to the childhood dental disease epidemic that is currently running rampant in the US.  After all, if parents knew the long-term consequences of poor oral health, brushing and flossing would surely move to the top of the priority list.

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Here are just a handful of the dangers of poor oral hygiene:

  • Increased risk of heart attack – Oral bacteria and gum inflammation can lead to arterial inflammation, plaque build-up, and clotting.
  • Increased risk of stroke – Can cause plaque build-up in carotid arteries and clotting.
  • Increased risk of dementia – Studies show a relationship between people who lost more teeth before the age of 35 and an increased risk of dementia.
  • Severe diabetes mellitus – Severe periodontal disease often accompanies severe diabetes mellitus and is considered the 6th complication of diabetes.
  • Pregnancy complications – Increased risk of having a pre-term baby or baby with low birth weight.
  • Respiratory disease – Oral bacteria can be breathed into lungs and cause infections such as pneumonia or exacerbate existing conditions, such as COPD.

(Want the more scientific explanation? This article goes into more detail.)

While it is true that baby teeth will eventually fall out, it is NOT true that the unhealthiness will disappear wtih them.  Unhealthy baby teeth lead directly to unhealthy adult teeth – as well as the long list of complications to go along with them.

It might be a battle every night over brushing, but it’s definitely a battle you want to pick.