5 Ways Bad Teeth Can Affect Your Body

Jacqueline Ho Jun 18th, 2014 (updated Jun 9th, 2015)
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Evidence shows that dental health can affect your overall well-being in a multitude of ways, from your heart and blood to your memory. In many cases, bad teeth can lead to the onset of disease, while in other cases, having a disease can affect your teeth. The good news is that preventive measures can ensure good dental health, which in turn may prevent the onset of other health problems. Here are five reasons why taking good care of your teeth is extra important.

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Heart disease and heart attacks
Heart disease and heart attacks

People who have chronic gum disease have an increased risk of heart attack, according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). Additionally, people with moderate to advanced gum disease are more likely to have heart disease than people with healthy gums, according to numerous studies. It remains unknown, however, whether gum disease or heart disease actually cause each other.

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Diabetes
Diabetes

Keeping teeth healthy is even more important for people with diabetes. Studies show that the higher someone’s blood sugar level, the higher the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. People with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes should take extra care when it comes to good oral hygiene practices, such as looking for early signs of gum disease, scheduling regular dental cleanings and not smoking.

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Stroke
Stroke

Some studies have shown that gum infections may be linked to a reduction in blood flow to the brain. Root canal infections have also been shown to affect risk of stroke, the third leading cause of death in the United States. Since root canal infections are primarily caused by tooth decay, it is all the more important to keep teeth healthy for as long as possible.

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Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease

A study published in 2013 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that people with poor oral hygiene may be at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s than people with healthy teeth. Previous studies have also linked gum inflammation and Alzheimer’s disease and have found that gum disease can increase risk of cognitive dysfunction.

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Rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis

Studies have shown that advanced gum disease is twice as common in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) when compared to the general population. Experts don’t fully understand the link, but one possibility is that inflammation and infection in the mouth stimulates the immune system, which leads to inflammation at the joints.