Back when many were still children, parents would always warn children that, if they didn’t brush their teeth, the teeth would hurt and go bad, eventually falling off. There are plenty of children who took this advice to heart and continue to practice good oral hygiene to this day.
Unfortunately, there are also many others who have grown to neglect their teeth over the years, unfazed by consequences. What many people didn’t know as kids, however, is how the risk of stroke and heart disease increases exponentially in the face of bad oral hygiene, giving a literal spin on taking parents’ advice to heart.
How Neglect Can Turn into Ruin
Oral hygiene is, unfortunately, something that can be easy to neglect, despite a person’s best efforts. This is because of the fact that the teeth often start incredibly strong, as tough and as durable as the very bones in the body. This makes it difficult to see the effects of neglect right away and makes it very easy for people to simply do whatever they want without brushing or flossing for extended periods.
Most of the time, you won’t even feel too much pain, if at all. The nerves of your teeth are encased so deeply that the only time you actually feel a great deal of pain is when the tooth itself is close to dying because of an exposed nerve. This means that, by the time you decide to exercise good oral hygiene, it’s often too late to save the tooth.
There are plenty of problems that can occur, from a simple cavity all the way to an infected root and severe infection of the gums, with the latter having much more serious implications. For those who feel that they may be particularly vulnerable, consider pulse oximetry, where health-care professionals utilize a pulse oximeter sensor like welch Allyn to monitor blood oxygen levels and any signs of a blood clot that may have been triggered by bad teeth.
What Severe Oral Neglect Entails
While you can certainly expect an incredible amount of pain and the loss of teeth to be part of the package, it doesn’t stop there. Studies at the University of Buffalo show that people who suffer from severe gum infections are twice as likely to suffer from a stroke. However, the results don’t affect the type of stroke that involves hemorrhaging of the brain.
Instead, the results affect the type of stroke where key arteries become blocked. As a matter of fact, this study shows that the relationship between bad oral hygiene and stroke is actually more pronounced than is the link between oral neglect and heart disease.
However, this doesn’t mean that those who suffer from stroke via hemorrhaging are completely safe from oral neglect. Studies conducted by researchers who hail from the University of Louisville School of Medicine have found out that there may be a link between gum infection and this particular type of stroke based on the bacteria present in a person’s mouth.
Streptococcus mutans is the name of a strain of bacteria found in the mouth of over a quarter of the patients who suffered a stroke via hemorrhage and who were part of the study. On the other hand, only 6 percent of those who suffered from other types of stroke had this bacteria in their mouths.
Good Dental Hygiene Is the Key
When it comes to whether or not bad teeth increase the risk of stroke, medical studies show that there is indeed a strong link between the two. This makes the practice of good dental hygiene even more important because the consequences don’t just involve a toothache or two. Prolonged oral neglect can lead to various types of gum diseases, which can eventually lead to heart disease and, more commonly, stroke. (See also: 4 Tips to Keep Your Teeth Healthy For a Life Time)
Form Good Habits
It’s very easy to observe good dental hygiene. Simply make sure that you brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once every night. While you may not feel the effects of neglect right away, if you allow your teeth to go bad, they won’t just rot—they will leave you vulnerable to more life-threatening conditions down the line.
About The Author:
Tara is a contributing writer and digital media relations specialist for Cables and Sensors. She’s passionate about healthy living and loves the outdoors. She writes articles on a variety of topics including medical, tech, and marketing. Follow her on Twitter.