We have known for a long time that health risks associated with oral health can affect your overall health.
Increasingly, researchers are investing the link between gum disease and specific health issues, some of which become manifested later in life.
Researchers in the United Kingdom have found that people with poor oral hygiene or gum disease could be at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s, compared with those who have healthy teeth.
The researchers, from The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) School of Medicine and Dentistry, discovered the presence of a bacterium called Porphyromonas Gingivalis in the brains of patients who had dementia when they were alive. The bacteria are usually associated with chronic periodontal (gum) disease.
Similarly, New York University performed a study in 2010, revealing long-term evidence that linked gum inflammation and cognitive dysfunction often associated with Alzheimer's. In this study, researchers looked at the cognitive function of people at ages 50 and 70 using the Digit Symbol Test (DST), a part of the standard measurement of adult IQ. They found that cognitively normal subjects with periodontal inflammation were at an increased risk of lower cognitive function at age 70, compared to cognitively normal subjects with little or no periodontal inflammation. This strong association held true even in those subjects who had other DST risk factors, such as obesity, cigarette smoking, and tooth loss unrelated to gum inflammation, and also in those subjects who already had a low DST score at age 50.
Studies are ongoing, so hopefully more will be discovered about this relationship over time. In the meantime, these studies reinforce the importance of good oral care to preserve overall health.
UCLan Research Details
NYU Research Details
Many children and adults suffer from tooth sensitivity. This condition, which can be very uncomfortable, typically occurs when the underlying layer of your teeth (the dentin) becomes exposed. (This can be caused by a number of factors, noted below.) Once this happens, the microscopic tubules in the dentin that lead to the nerve of the tooth become exposed, which can cause pain when you bite into foods that are hot, cold, sweet, or acidic.
Some of the factors that may lead to tooth sensitivity include:
While there is no distinct "cure" for tooth sensitivity, desensitizing toothpastes can typically provide some relief.
What else can you do?
Want to know more? Read this article from the American Dental Association.
Or read this related study from the Journal of the American Dental Association.
Did you know that good dental health is even more important during pregnancy?
Increases in the hormone Progesterone during pregnancy causes an exaggerated response to the plaque that’s already in your mouth. This can lead to "pregnancy gingivitis." If left untreated, it can lead to periodontal disease, which is is a problem for both the expectant mother and potentially the baby, as well. (According to the Journal of the American Dental Association [JADA], "most of the clinical studies indicate a positive correlation between periodontal disease and preterm birth.") In addition, JADA notes "the possibility that maternal periodontal infections also may have adverse long-term effects on the infant’s development."
And if the expectant mother has a history of periodontal disease, she is at higher risk of having dental problems during pregnancy.
So what can be done to prevent this? Here are some tips:
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