Does Poor Oral Health Impact Brain Function?

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Teeth are an underestimated part of the body and how they affect overall health. Western medicine and Chinese medicine agree that teeth health is a good start for general health.

The health of your mouth can indicate your overall health. Over time tooth decay has been linked to some health conditions, but are you aware that poor oral hygiene can affect your brain function? 

Oral diseases may reduce the quality of a person’s life and increase the risk of developing other, worse conditions. Research has linked gum disease to increase the risk of heart disease by 20%.

Signs of Gum Disease

To be able to monitor and note that it could be possible that you have or are developing oral and gum disease, here are some signs that you can spot yourself:

  • Toothache
  • Bad breath
  • Swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Receding gums
  • Gum tenderness and pain

Having gum disease isn’t the end of the world. However, it can affect more than just your mouth and the health of your gums.

In this next section, you’ll learn more closely about how gum disease can impact brain function and how it can create both short-term and long-term adversary side effects. 

Does It Impact Brain Function?

There have been studies that suggest that gum diseases can cause dementia. You might have heard of this if you are a dentist; however, results are just getting off the ground. If you have gingivitis, bacteria can enter the brain through nerve channels. 

It can also get to the brain through the bloodstream. Experts have warned that it can cause dementia, while others believe it to be the one valid reasons for the awful brain disease. 

Research done at Rutgers University, New Jersey, conducted a study to know if poor oral health can affect the brain. It was concluded that there is a relationship between memory and oral health, which can impact learning and complex attention. There was a link between stress and oral health that having a dry mouth is linked to high levels of stress. 

The dental professionals at The Smilist Dental in Clifton emphasize the importance of practicing good oral health in older generations because it can lead to dementia, slower cognitive functions, or episodic memory loss. However, more studies need to be done before professionals and dentists can tell if oral health can impact brain functions.

Symptoms of Brain Infection from Teeth

As mentioned earlier, poor oral health can lead to some pretty nasty and significant side effects. You must pay close attention to how you are reacting, as this can be an indicator of a more underlying, harmful side effect like:

  • Reduced mobility
  • Vision changes
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Headache
  • Increased confusion 
  • Difficulty remembering

How Poor Dental Health Causes Dementia

You likely develop dementia if you suffer from gum disease. Studies have shown a connection between gum disease and cognitive decline as a direct link between dementia and periodontal disease. Some studies have also shown gum disease to be a catalyst for Alzheimer’s.

Tooth infection and memory loss: An infected tooth can cause memory loss when the infection spreads to the brain. Infection threatens the blood vessels and nerves when the cavity reaches the tooth’s root. These nerves connect directly to the brain. Maintaining oral hygiene and visiting the dentist will help stop the infection from spreading.

Tooth loss and dementia: Severe tooth loss is connected to dementia, as studies have shown. If you have lost most teeth, you are more likely to develop brain disease.

What Else Does Poor Oral Health Impact?

Gum disease can impact a lot. It can lead to infected and swollen gums and teeth. It does not just affect the brain but also has adverse effects on your heart. It can lead to cardiovascular disease in men. 

Bacteria in the mouth naturally get swallowed and find their way to the heart leading to hardening of the arteries. It can also cause thickness of the blood, which leads to a blockage that can result in stroke or heart attack. The lungs could also be at risk since you breathe air that passes through the bacteria in the mouth.

How Can You Stop It?

Since experts have not found out how to yet, you cannot completely stop it. However, the first step is to assess your oral health methods because it might help you start better hygiene practices that could shield you against gum diseases. If you don’t know where to start, speak to your dentist to help you learn or adopt better methods to go about your daily dental hygiene. Some people in the East swear by the miswak, a natural toothbrush made from a tree. Maybe it’s a natural brushing approach worth a try?

Final Thoughts 

Practicing daily hygiene can help you combat gum diseases—brushing after every meal, not just morning and evening. 

Ensure to get good toothpaste, preferably something with fluoride in the mix, use mouthwash after cleaning, and don’t forget to find an interdental brush to be able to reach hard-to-reach places. It will help kill bacteria that are building up in your mouth. If you are experiencing anything extraordinary, visit your dentist. 

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