Did you know that your mouth is good indicator of what’s going on inside your body? Excellent oral hygiene means that your internal organs are working properly, but things like toothaches, bleeding gums and bad breath means so much more than terrible oral hygiene.
We all know the importance of keeping our mind healthy and sharp, but having oral health problems have been shown to affect brain health. Scientists refer to our mouths as an “oral microbiome,” meaning if it’s not cleaned regularly, it becomes a cesspit for bacteria to grow and thrive. How does that affect your brain?
The human body’s nerve pathways are all controlled by the brain. But while we often associate nerve damage with other parts of the body like hands and feet, we forget that there are nerves in our mouth too. Experts have found that complication from dental illnesses like periodontitis, when left untreated, have a direct correlation with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Infected gums release bacteria that go into the bloodstream, straight into our brains.
Periodontitis is a very sneaky infection. It’s caused by plaque buildup when we don’t brush or floss properly and, if you don’t see a dentist to treat it, could cause major problems. Brain health was one, but it could also affect your heart.
The same bacteria released by plaque buildup on your teeth could travel through the bloodstream and cause plaque to build up in your arteries causing atherosclerosis, a deadly disorder wherein arteries are blocked, yielding poor blood flow. This is an extremely severe ailment that could have been prevented by simply brushing your teeth properly.
Earaches, Neck Pain, and Jaw Pain
For some, these could be simple annoyances. A pain pill here, some liniment there, and you’re good to go. However, if it happens frequently, you might consider going to an ear doctor and a dentist. If it’s coupled with toothaches, you could have an impacted wisdom tooth. Wisdom tooth removal is standard practice nowadays, so a quick trip to your favorite dentist will have you feeling better in no time.
If there isn’t any toothache, you could be suffering from a temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ. Those little annoyance like clicking jaws or stiff necks could be a sign of this disorder. Your dentist would be the best person to diagnose this illness since it could also be mistaken for something else like rheumatoid arthritis. The important thing to note is that the more pain-free you are in your upper extremities, the lesser the stress you are carrying in your body.
Infertility and Erectile Dysfunction
We don’t often associate good oral hygiene with our reproductive system but studies have shown that it has a major impact. For women, those with terrible oral hygiene are said to have a harder time getting pregnant than their orally healthier counterparts. For men, studies have shown that chronic periodontal gum (CPG) disease has a direct impact on erectile dysfunction (ED).
CPG happens when the tooth pulls away from the gum, causing bacteria to build up in these spots. Like with the others, this build-up of bacteria could potentially enter your bloodstream and cause blockages in your genitals, making it difficult to achieve or sustain an erection.
As we can see, having excellent oral health habits can have a major impact on our overall health, including our mental health. Think about it. Sometimes, when we’re having a bad day, the simple act of brushing one’s teeth and feeling minty fresh is enough to perk you up. So be consistent with your oral health habits and maintain a regular appointment with your dentist.