There is much evidence to prove the risk that goes with poor oral health. Damage to overall health can happen quickly if oral health concerns are ignored. For example, when oral infections spread throughout the body, they can raise the risks for heart disease and diabetes.

How Plaque Gets Around

man in a dental chair

When oral infections spread through the body, they raise the risks for problems in other areas.

Food particles stick to your teeth when you eat. These attract bacteria. Unless you brush and floss each day, the bacteria turn into plaque and that turns into tartar, which may lead to gum disease.

Symptoms of gum disease include bad breath, painful chewing, sensitive teeth, or swollen gums. Any of these should prompt you to see a dentist. They will be able to tell if gum disease is present, and they can remove any tartar that has formed.

Without dental care, though, tiny pockets can form between your teeth and gums. Then, as more bacteria gets in, the pockets may grow worse. Finally, the oral bacteria can enter your bloodstream.

Heart Disease

Once they enter your blood, bacteria can inflame other parts of your body. For example, if you are at risk for heart disease, your heart could find it hard to relax and contract as needed.

Scientists have confirmed oral bacteria’s link with heart attack. And they have reported that when plaque s is scraped away by a dentist, the heart works better.

Diabetes

Once they enter your bloodstream, oral bacteria can also cause glucose levels to skyrocket. This failure to process sugar can be hazardous to diabetics and pre-diabetic alike.

However, studies show when dentists remove plaque the blood sugar levels return closer to normal.

Stroke and Alzheimer’s

The effect of oral bacteria on the brain is very similar to its effect on the heart. It makes the brain’s vessels more vulnerable to developing plaque, which is the key factor for a stroke.

In 2016, British researchers monitored Alzheimer’s patients and saw that those with gum disease experienced mental deterioration six times faster than those with healthier gums. Alzheimer’s patients are also more likely to suffer from poor oral health because they forget daily habits like brushing teeth.

Doctors and Oral Health

More and more, doctors ask their patients about dental visits before drawing conclusions or moving forward with operations, according to Men’s Journal.

When was the last time you had a dental cleaning?

Cardiologist Melvyn Rubenfire, for example, schedules dentist appointments for patients going into surgery in order to eliminate the risk of complications from oral infections.

Harvard endocrinologist William Hsu tells his diabetic patients their worries about glucose levels will decline significantly if they see the dentist every six months. When he observes a rise in blood glucose, his first question to the patient is, “When was the last time you had a dental cleaning?”

Read Next: 5 Positive Oral Health Benefits | The benefits of seeing your dentist every six months stretch far beyond simply having healthier, better-looking teeth.