Without treatment, gum disease can cause serious dental problems, including tooth decay, oral infections and tooth loss. Unfortunately, the dangers of periodontal disease don’t stop there. The bacterial infections can spread beyond just your gum line, infecting the surrounding tissue and eventually contaminating your whole body. That's why paying more attention to your dental routine as early on in your life as possible is important.
You have probably been told to brush your teeth since you were a child. For most of us it's just part of our routine (hopefully everyday). For some it may feel like a chore, for others it's just what you do. But, if you take a moment to recognize some of the unexpected benefits of brushing your teeth, you may connect more to the incredible impact it has on your health.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Weight Loss. This has been something that made and continues to make a difference in maintaining my healthy weight. I have trained my brain that once I brush my teeth after dinner, I do not eat. Many of the people I work with in my Health Coaching practice share that late night eating is a struggle. Once you form this "no eating after brushing teeth" habit, that struggle becomes less - and weight loss often follows.
Gut Health. Having regular dental cleanings and check-ups may not seem to be important to a healthy microbiome, but studies at Cornell University and in Sweden have found that bacteria from your mouth can get into your stomach and cause problems. Avoid the "bad guys" taking over the "good guys" in your tummy by taking care of your teeth. In addition to being inflammatory to the system, bad bacteria can cause yeast to grow and it can throw off delicate gut balances that are so important to your brain health too.
Sustaining Cognitive Function: If you have tartar buildup, your mouth also releases substances that kill your brain cells. Combining this with the oral bacteria entering your nerve channels and bloodstream, your risks of Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss increase. In a 2010 American Dental Association report on a study by New York University's College of Dentistry, "people with periodontal inflammation are at an increased risk of lower cognitive function compared to cognitively normal subjects."
Avoiding Dentures! Plaque buildup can trigger inflammation in your gums, which can lead to gum disease. Gum disease can cause painful gum tenderness, bleeding, swelling, loose teeth and tooth loss. Being able to continue to chew and swallow is a critical part of health. At the point in aging that you can no longer chew, many downstream impacts happen that include: Weight loss, weakness, malnutrition and increased risk of disease. Take steps now to keep your own teeth highly functioning so you can sustain a good life filled with nutritious and healthy eating.