5 Ways Poor Dental Care Makes You Sick

PHOTO: Taking care of your mouth can brighten your smile and make you healthier.
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Even if you brush your teeth daily, you may still have dangerous bacteria growing inside your mouth. Not only could that lead to periodontitis (an advanced form of gum disease that comes with symptoms such as bleeding when you brush and gum pain), but studies also find a link between poor oral hygiene and major health issues. Here are some ways that missing the mark on oral care could harm your heath.

It May Hurt Your Heart

People with gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease compared to those don't have periodontitis. Researchers aren't exactly sure of why this might be, but one theory is that harmful bacteria from your mouth enters your blood stream and attaches to fatty plaques in your heart's blood vessels, leading to inflammation and upping your risk of clots that can trigger heart attacks.

28 Days to a Healthier Heart

Your Memory May Suffer

Some research suggests there may be a tie between poor oral health and an increased risk of dementia. One study that followed 118 nuns between the ages of 75 and 98 found that those with the fewest teeth were most likely to suffer dementia. Experts think oral bacteria may spread to the brain through cranial nerves that connect to the jaw or through the bloodstream, and may contribute to the type of plaque that's been linked to Alzheimer's.

It Might Impact Your Blood Sugar

People with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease than those without diabetes. While this may be because diabetics are more susceptible to infections, there's also been research that finds gum disease could make it harder to control your blood sugar, and that treating it helps improve diabetes symptoms.

12 Ways to Never Get Diabetes

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More from Prevention:

Foods for Healthy Teeth

6 Painless Teeth Cleaning Tips for Your Pet

10 Habits for Bright, White Teeth

Banish Bad Breath

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