Individuals who have poor oral hygiene face many problems, such as tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. However, recent studies have shown that those who do not brush regularly risk other health problems that aren't limited to the mouth.
Researchers from University College in London recently found that individuals who have poor oral health are more likely to develop cardiovascular issues.
The study, which was led by professor Richard Watt, asked participants about their dental health habits, then tracked their medical records. The results showed that individuals who have poor oral health habits are 70 percent more likely to develop heart problems.
"Our results confirmed and further strengthened the suggested association between oral hygiene and the risk of cardiovascular disease," said Watt. "Furthermore inflammatory markers were significantly associated with a very simple measure of poor oral health behavior."
For individuals who are not inspired to good oral hygiene by the more immediate effects of bad breath and cavities, the risk of cardiovascular disease may prompt them to make some needed lifestyle changes.
The matters of oral health and general health are more strongly linked than many people realize. Taking steps to improve dental hygiene may reduce some of the bacteria that infect the mouth. These microbes are often harmless. However, they can occasionally cause tooth decay and bad breath.
The same bacteria that are responsible for these problems have also been shown to contribute to inflammation in many body tissues. This is a factor in some of the chronic diseases that millions of Americans suffer from each day. Improving oral hygiene may help reduce the prevalence of these problems.
In a new book titled Are Your Teeth Killing You, dentist Charles Martin writes about how oral bacteria play a role in more than just bad breath and cavities. He says that gum disease contributes to a range of issues that plague the nation.
"What we didn't know about the mouth-body connection before has implications and applications in everyday life for everyone," Dr. Martin said. "What we now know and what we research increasingly shows if the mouth isn't healthy, the body won't be either. People need to hear that message."
Individuals who persistently experience bad breath may find it necessary to turn to specialty dental hygiene products. They can have more effective bacteria-killing formulas than traditional consumer products.