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by Christina Wilson

Oral health is not separate from the rest of your body—it affects all your other systems. For example, your mouth has the same blood supply as the rest of your body. Therefore, harmful bacteria that can develop from poor oral health will affect the rest of the body.

The effects of poor dental health on systemic diseases are well‐documented, a matter that has led to a renewed interest in contribution of dental diseases to the systemic health outcomes.

Our mouths contain good bacteria and harmful bacteria. Build-up from plaque, infections, or inflammation all carry harmful bacteria that can cause hardening of the arteries, leading to blood clots and stroke

Recent studies have identified that the bacteria that cause gingivitis also may be connected to Alzheimer's disease. Scientists have found the species of bacteria, called Porphyromonas gingivalis, can move from the mouth to the brain. Once in the brain, the bacteria release enzymes called gingipains that can destroy nerve cells, leading to memory loss and eventually Alzheimer's.

Tips for optimal oral hygiene:

  • Brush twice daily for two minutes, and remember to clean your tongue!
  • Floss every day to remove plaque and bacteria from between teeth.
  • Visit the dentist regularly for a dental check-up, cleaning, and screenings for oral cancers and periodontal/gum disease.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Limit sugary drinks, including soda, concentrated juice, and carbonated water, or use a straw to limit contact with your teeth.
  • Avoid tobacco products, including smoking cigarettes and vaping.
  • Use mouthwash to reduce plaque and bacteria.
  • Consider using an electric toothbrush or Waterpik flosser.

 

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Christina Wilson
Christina Wilson

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