Maintaining good oral hygiene may be more important than you think. Researchers have discovered that strong associations exist between bacteria that thrive in your mouth and serious health conditions, like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
What’s the link?
Plaque buildup around the gum line will lead to cavities and gum infections, such as gingivitis and periodontal disease. People with gum infections experience inflammation in the mouth, allowing bacteria, like the anaerobic bacteria which cause bad breath, to enter the bloodstream and infiltrate other areas of the body. These oral pathogens can then cause inflammation in other parts of the body, (like arteries) which contribute to a variety of other serious health conditions. The more severe the oral infection, the higher the risk for a range of other diseases.
What kind of conditions?
Cardiovascular Disease – The inflammation caused by the oral bacteria in the bloodstream, provides a base for plaque to form and build up in the arteries. This “atherosclerotic” plaque increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Endocarditis – Endocarditis is an infection of the heart’s inner lining. This infection occurs when bacteria from other parts of the body, like the mouth, spreads through the bloodstream. These bacteria then attach themselves to damaged tissue in the heart.
Diabetes – Those with diabetes are already at an increased risk for developing gum disease. Infection can cause insulin resistance, disrupting blood sugar control, making diabetes more difficult to manage.
Alzheimer’s disease – Research has shown that those who experience tooth loss before the age of 35 might be at a higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
Preterm Birth – Toxins from oral infection can interfere with a baby’s development. They can also cause mothers to produce the chemicals which trigger labor, potentially leading to premature birth.
What can you do to improve your oral care, and overall health?
Keeping these harmful bacteria and toxins in check is essential! The best way, is to keep your mouth as clean as possible. Normal brushing and flossing are a good start, but they can’t clear bacteria from the crevasses in the mouth where they live.
The best solution is to use an antimicrobial, therapeutic oral rinse, like ProFresh, to reach every part of the mouth. ProFresh takes a dual action approach. It destroys the oral bacteria, and prevents plaque and oral pathogens from forming. Rinsing twice daily also prevents the bacteria from coming back.
The activated ingredient in ProFresh Rinse, Activated Chlorine Dioxide, kills oral bacteria from the outside-in, destroying the bacteria’s cell wall first. Traditional mouthwashes that contain alcohol kill bacteria from the inside-out, and lose effectiveness before they totally penetrate bacteria cells. Using ProFresh ensures that bacteria are eliminated, and rinsing twice daily, also prevents the bacteria from coming back.
For more information about these conditions and their association with oral health, visit the sources below:
Krall KE. Bone health and oral health. The Journal of the American Dental Association. 2007;138:616.
American Dental Association. Healthy mouth, healthy body. Journal of the American Dental Association. 2006;137:563.
Michalowicz BS, et al. Treatment of periodontal disease and the risk of preterm birth. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2006;355:1885.
Loesche W. Dental caries and periodontitis: Contrasting two infections that have medical implications. Infectious Disease Clinics of North America. 2007;21:471. Oral health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed Jan. 31, 2013.
Periodontal disease and atherosclerotic vascular disease: Does the evidence support an independent association? A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2012;125:2520. Gatz M, et al. Potentially modifiable risk factors for dementia in identical twins. Alzheimer’s & Dementia. 2006;2:110.
Sjogren’s syndrome: Questions and answers about Sjogren’s syndrome. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Accessed Jan. 31, 2013. Medications and oral health. American Dental Association. Accessed Jan. 31, 2013