Healthy mouth - healthy body

Did You Know?

  • Periodontal disease are among the most prevalent in the world with 70% of the world population thought to be affected by some form of the disease. In addition, up to 900 million people suffer from severe periodontal (gum) disease, which is considered a potential risk factor for severe serious health conditions.
  • If you smoke you are four times as likely to have periodontal disease as someone who has never smoked.
  • Only 60% of women over the age of 45 can claim to have all their own teeth.
  • Men with periodontal disease are 7 times more likely to experience erectile dysfunction than men with good dental hygiene.

Although you probably understand that poor dental care can lead to cavities, did you know that other, more serious health problems can also result from poor oral care? The truth is that if you don't take proper care of your teeth, you could face far more serious consequences than a simple toothache or some unsightly stains.

Some areas of concern include:

  • Cardiovascular disease:  The bacteria from inflammation of the gums and periodontal disease can enter your bloodstream and travel to the arteries in the heart and cause atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Atherosclerosis causes plaque to develop on the inner walls of arteries which thicken and these decreases or may block blood flow through the body. This can cause an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
  • Dementia: The bacteria from gingivitis may enter the brain through either nerve channels in the head or through the bloodstream and this might lead to the development of Alzheimer's disease.
  • Respiratory infections: The Journal of Periodontology warns that gum disease could cause you to get infections in your lungs, including pneumonia. While the connection might not be completely obvious at first, think of what might happen from breathing in bacteria from infected teeth and gums over a long period of time.
  • Diabetic complications: Inflammation of the gum tissue and periodontal disease can make it harder to control your blood sugar and make your diabetes symptoms worse. Diabetes sufferers are also more susceptible to periodontal disease, making proper dental care even more important for those with this disease.
  • Complications in pregnancies and problems for babies: Bacteria from a mother's mouth can be transmitted through the blood and amniotic fluid to her unborn child. This could contribute to the risk of a premature delivery, a low birth-weight baby, premature onset of contractions, or infection of the new born child.
  • Cancer: Researchers have found that men with gum disease were 49% more likely to develop kidney cancer, 54% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, and 30% more likely to develop blood cancers.

The message is clear: Practicing proper dental care is important in many ways you might not have thought of before. Encourage your family to practice good oral hygiene by brushing after every meal with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily and using a mouth rinse to kill bacteria.

Oral Hygienists aim to promote quality oral health care. Through clinical services, education, consultative planning and evaluation, they seek to prevent oral diseases, provide treatment for existing diseases and assist people in maintaining an optimal level of oral health. Their primary concerns as primary oral health care practitioners are the promotion of overall health through the prevention of oral diseases. You should also visit a dental professional regularly for cleanings and the prevention and treatment of cavities. Doing so can protect more than just your teeth -- it can save your life!

Visit: for an oral hygienist close to you.

Sources: Marie Ferreira (Oral Hygienist Intercare Walmer);;;;


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