Most of us are aware that poor dental hygiene can lead to tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath – but not brushing your teeth could also have consequences for more serious illnesses. People with gum disease are also thought to be at a higher risk of strokes, chest infections, and pregnant women are seven times more likely to have a premature baby with a low birth weight.
But Wait, there’s more…
In 2010, researchers from New York University (NYU) concluded that there is a link between gum inflammation and Alzheimer’s disease, after reviewing 20 years of data on the association. There is sufficient scientific evidence to show that two of the three gum disease-causing bacteria are capable of motion and have been consistently found in brain tissue.
A research team from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, MA, were the first to report strong evidence on a link between gum disease and pancreatic cancer, back in 2007. While unable to prove whether the periodontitis bacteria are a cause or result of pancreatic cancer – current research can only prove that the two are linked. The type of gum inflammation associated with pancreatic cancer in the study was periodontitis, which affects the tissue that support the teeth and can cause loss of bone around the base of the teeth.
In 2008, MNT reported on research from joint teams at the University of Bristol in the UK and the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland, who found that people with bleeding gums from poor dental hygiene could be increasing their risk of heart disease. The researchers found that heart disease risk increased because – in people who have bleeding gums – bacteria from the mouth is able to enter the bloodstream and stick to platelets, which can then form blood clots, interrupting the flow of blood to the heart and triggering a heart attack.
A new study suggests that women may be over 11 times more likely to suffer from breast cancer if they have missing teeth and gum disease. The study, carried out by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden on over three thousand patients, showed that out of the 41 people who developed breast cancer those who had gum disease and loss of teeth were 11 times more likely to develop cancer.
Sort of looks like it might be time to come in for a check up, doesn’t it?