The health of your mouth can be considered as the gateway to your overall health. You may already know that conditions like untreated gum disease can impact your heart health. But did you know that your teeth are also connected to your brain? There is a serious link between poor oral hygiene and brain problems. If having a brain infection or Alzheimer’s disease scares you, we recommend picking up your toothbrush – and here’s why.
The Problem with Dental Negligence and Oral Bacteria
Dental negligence is improper or lack of care for your gums and teeth. It is commonly associated with gum disease and decay. These oral health conditions involve excessive bacteria in the mouth that doesn’t get removed from brushing and flossing each day. Unfortunately, this bacteria triggers an immune response that can cause problems in your heart as well as in your brain.
Dental Infection and Brain Infection
There are several nerves in the oral cavity that attach to your brain. For example, the trigeminal nerve is a cranial nerve that connects your teeth, gums and jaw. If you have an infection in these areas of your mouth and it goes untreated, it can travel through the bloodstream and carry the harmful bacteria to your brain. A bacterial infection can attack neurons in the brain, which makes you vulnerable to complications, ranging from memory loss to a life-threatening brain abscess.
Untreated Gum Disease and Dementia
The bacteria that travels to the brain can has been found to also worsen dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. There have been many studies that show potential links between poor oral health and Alzheimer’s disease. One 2013 study, from the University of Central Lancashire in the UK, found atypical bacteria in the brains of those who had Alzheimer’s disease. The bacteria, named Porphyromonas gingivalis, is the same type of bacteria found in chronic gum disease. When someone has severe gum disease, they have an infection in the soft tissues, which can travel to the brain and sabotage your precious memories if left untreated.
Boost Your Oral Hygiene and Protect Your Brain
The risk of brain issues from oral health problems doesn’t happen overnight. It is important to recognize the symptoms of decay and gum disease at their earliest stages so that the bacteria can be eliminated from your mouth. The best way to prevent excessive oral bacteria in the first place is to brush and floss each day. You’ll also want to visit your dentist for routine checkups. It is difficult for gum disease to progress to the point of affecting your brain when you are letting a dentist check your mouth every six months.
To learn more about how a healthy smile can help protect your mind, please call Dr. Tejal Kakade. We recognize the overwhelming value of dental health as it pertains to your whole-body health and quality of life.