While most people understand that poor dental hygiene can lead to gum disease and cavities, some individuals are unaware that not brushing and flossing regularly can lead to serious health problems. While major medical problems related to poor dental hygiene is usually the result of longstanding neglect, it can develop relatively quickly in certain people. Here are three ways poor dental hygiene can hurt your general health, and what you can do about them:
Cardiologist are now learning that oral bacteria caused by poor dental care or gum disease can heighten the risk for arterial inflammation. It was once widely recognized that high cholesterol levels and plaque-laden arteries were the primary cause of heart attack and stroke, however, it is becoming more accepted by the medical community that cardiovascular events may be caused by inflammation of your arteries.
If you have gum disease or cavities, see your family dentist as soon as possible for further evaluation and treatment. It may also be prudent to visit your physician for a check up, which may include a cardiac workup so that your doctor can evaluate your heart health.
Bacteria from your teeth and gums can also lead to joint pain. While joint pain related to poor oral hygiene is usually experienced by people who have existing degenerative joint and bone conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis, anyone can be affected. If you develop pain, problems with mobility, or morning stiffness, see your doctor for a medical checkup, and visit your dentist. Once your mouth is healthy again, your joint problems and body-wide inflammation may resolve as well.
Because gingivitis and cavities are related to oral bacteria, and because your tonsils are in such close proximity to your mouth, bacterial tonsillitis can occur if you don't brush and floss on a regular basis.
If you develop a sore throat, especially on one side, pain when you swallow, difficulty speaking, spots on your tonsils, or a bad odor, you may have a bacterial tonsil infection. You will need to see your physician, who will prescribe a course of antibiotics.
Some antibiotics can cause side effects such as abdominal cramping and diarrhea, and because of this, you may want to stop taking them. It is important, however, that you do not discontinue your antibiotics unless cleared to do so by your physician.
If you do not complete your entire course of antibiotic therapy, your infection may not fully resolve. To help prevent stomach problems from antibiotic use, try eating yogurt containing live cultures. This will help repopulate your gut with "good bacteria," which may have been wiped out from the antibiotics. Gargling with an antimicrobial mouthwash may also help eliminate oral bacteria, while helping to soothe your painful throat.
If you develop any of the above health problems, work with both your dentist and primary care physician. When dental and medical problems are addressed and treated early on, you are less likely to experience complications such as infections, joint pain, or cardiovascular events.
Visit a website such as http://www.charlottesvilledentistry.com/ for more information.