Health

Poor oral hygiene can lead to incurable disease


Poor oral hygiene can lead to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, gastrointestinal disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.

Studies in recent years have shown a strong link between poor oral hygiene and inflammation in the body in general, including inflammation of the heart.

Dr Derek Baram, an orthodontist at Central Smile in Hong Kong, says studies show people with gum disease have a 25% higher risk of heart disease.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recognizes oral health as an important predictor of cardiovascular disease risk, even more important than other indicators such as high levels of clotting fibrinogen, cholesterol levels. bad (HDL) and triglycerides.

In addition to heart disease, research shows that periodontal disease can increase the risk of colorectal cancer, respiratory infections, gastrointestinal disease, diabetes, insulin resistance, and even Alzheimer’s.

To prove this, experts point out the harmful effects of poor oral hygiene and its effects on inflammation inside the body.

The mouth is home to billions of bacteria, known as the oral microbiome. Graeme Bradshaw, director of the Hong Kong Institute of Integrative Medicine, points to three main organisms found in the mouth.

The first is porphyromonas gingivalis, a bacteria that causes gum and bone infections. However, it can also cause a buildup of deposits in the coronary arteries around the heart, which has been linked to the development of rheumatoid arthritis. The bacteria are also present in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

Two other types, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, can also thrive in the gut. Problems arise when the microbiome in the mouth is overgrown or out of balance. They produce potent toxins that can enter the bloodstream through the gums and thin membranes in the lining of the mouth.

As they travel through the circulatory system, to the organs and intestines, these toxins produce cytokines. These are molecules released by the immune system to fight harmful pathogens. However, when the immune system overreacts, a large amount of cytokines is secreted, creating a “cytokine storm”. They trigger an inflammatory response in the body, causing damage to leopards and organs.

Mild inflammation, if turned chronic, can still cause disease in the liver, pancreas, intestines, heart and other organs, leading to fatty liver, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, intestinal problems.

Experts recommend flossing once a day. Image: Shutterstock

The essence of all of these diseases, says Bradshaw, is inflammation and aging. Inflammation is a chronic condition that develops at low levels as people age.

“Overproduction of endotoxins, which promote inflammation, is common in half of adults. Endotoxins come from small bowel bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). The disease begins in the mouth. , because oral bacteria are ingested and can overgrow in the gut,” he adds.

Keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy is important to prevent problems like tooth decay and reduce your risk of serious diseases as you age.

“It’s not just quantity, it’s microbial toxicity. There are specific types of bacteria that promote tooth decay, there are other microorganisms that live in gum tissue, promoting gum disease,” Dr. Baram explained. prefer.

Experts suggest a way to keep the microflora in the mouth healthy, preventing inflammatory conditions that can affect the tissues around the teeth, such as gingivitis, periodontitis.

First, Dr. Baram recommends each person brush teeth twice a dayevery two minutes, using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush.

“Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle above the gum line, so it touches your gums and teeth. Use gentle, circular motions to kill and remove bacteria. Many people think the more you brush, the more you brush. The stronger the teeth, the cleaner the teeth, but brushing too hard can cause the gums to recede, which leads to tooth sensitivity,” explains Dr.

He also suggested floss once a day, because the toothbrush cannot reach between the teeth. Meanwhile, floss can get into tight spots below the gums, where many bacteria live.

“These bacteria cause gingivitis, which leads to bleeding gums,” he says.

Dr. Baram said using antibacterial mouthwash can reduce and block the activity of bacteria in the mouth. As a liquid, mouthwash can carry antibacterial agents to all areas of the oral cavity.

Tongue scraping or brushing helps remove bacteria and dead surface cells. This not only prevents bad breath, but also helps reduce the number of bacteria present in the oral cavity. Dr. Baram recommends tongue scraping once a day.

Besides, choosing the right food can also help protect oral health. Experts recommend Limit sugary foodsBecause sugar often sticks to teeth, creating an environment for bacteria to grow and cause tooth decay.

“The American Dental Association recommends eating fibrous foods like carrots, celery, and apples. They’re not only good for gut health, they also help with saliva production,” says Baram. Saliva keeps the oral cavity healthy, helping to maintain a neutral pH.

Thuc Linh (Follow SCMP)

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