Most of us are aware that poor dental hygiene can lead to tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath – but not brushing your teeth could also have consequences for more serious illnesses.
In 2010, researchers from NYU concluded that there is a link between gum inflammation and Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers’ analyzed date from 152subjects enrolled in the Glostrop Aging Study and concluded that study participants were nine times more likely to have a score in the lower range of the cognitive test, if they had inflammation of the gums.
In 2007, a research team from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, MA, made a strong link between pancreatic cancer and gum disease. Examining data on gum disease from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which involved a cohort of more than 51,000 men and began collecting data in 1986, the Harvard researchers found that men with a history of gum disease had a 64% increased risk of pancreatic cancer compared with men who had never had gum disease. The researchers suggest that there may be a link between high levels of carcinogenic compounds found in the mouths of people with gum disease and pancreatic cancer risk. They argue that these compounds – called nitrosamines – may react to the digestive chemicals in the gut in a way that creates an environment favorable to the development of pancreatic cancer.
Perhaps better established is the association between dental hygiene and heart disease.
In 2008, MNT reported on research from joint teams at the University of Bristol in the UK and the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland, who found that people with bleeding gums from poor dental hygiene could be increasing their risk of heart disease. The researchers found that heart disease risk increased because – in people who have bleeding gums – bacteria from the mouth is able to enter the bloodstream and stick to platelets, which can then form blood clots, interrupting the flow of blood to the heart and triggering a heart attack.
“The mouth is probably the dirtiest place in the human body,” said Dr. Steve Kerrigan from the Royal College of Surgeons, explaining that there are up to 700 different types of bacteria co-existing in our mouths.
For more information about good oral hygiene call Dr. Lunt of Northridge, CA at 818-885-7230 or visit www.davidluntdds.com.
Dr. Lunt of Northridge, CA proudly accepts patients from Granada Hills, Reseda, Chatsworth, Porter Ranch, Winnetka, and surrounding areas.