What does oral health have to do with the rest of my body? Aren’t they totally unrelated?

Oddly, no. Poor oral health can greatly increase the risk of all sorts of ailments: heart disease, diabetes, cancer, digestive issues and even a shortened life span. The most current research even shows connections between oral health and brain activity, such as dementia. According to the World Health Organization report done in 2022, “Severe periodontal disease—chronic inflammation of and damage to the gums and bone that support the teeth—affects about 19% of people older than 15 or more than 1 billion people worldwide.” Though some researchers are still stumped about how it’s all interconnected, they can pinpoint that an increase in
bacteria and inflammation are the greatest ties between oral hygiene and the well-being of the rest of the body.

Several case studies have been conducted, from a group of nuns to an area of Taiwanese natives, to find correlations between health and oral hygiene. The repeated conclusion drawn is this: poor oral health and a decline in brain function are definitely tied together. Any time we skip brushing our teeth, bacteria build up on the enamel. Your mouth goes into overdrive to fight off these bacteria, because it isn’t suited for your body. If it goes untreated, this can turn into gingivitis, which, in turn, can turn into an infection, which, in turn, can affect the bones and gums in the mouth…you get the drift. All of the inflammation caused can actually work to degenerate the brain and slow down function.

What does this mean for you?? KEEP BRUSHING CONSISTENTLY. And, of course, make regular visits to see your dentist, so preventative measures can be implemented rather than waiting until it’s too late. For the sake of your whole body, prioritize your oral health!