Dental problems are not only a nuisance; they can also signify something much more serious. Untreated dental problems can lead to several health issues, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. By neglecting your oral health, you could be putting your overall health at risk.
1. Heart Disease, Stroke, and Other Serious Health Conditions
Gum disease is caused by bacteria in the mouth, which can lead to inflammation of the gums. If left untreated, this inflammation can spread to other body parts, including the heart. Cases have shown that people with gum disease are more likely to suffer from heart disease and stroke. Gum disease has also been linked to diabetes, respiratory problems, and even Alzheimer’s disease. This is why it’s so important to see a dentist regularly and to brush and floss daily.
2. Bacteria Buildup and Plaque, Which Can Cause Bad Breath
Poor oral hygiene can lead to a buildup of bacteria and plaque, which can cause bad breath. Bacteria thrive in warm, moist environments, and the mouth is full of all the things bacteria need to survive: warmth, moisture, and food. When you don’t brush your teeth regularly, the bacteria can multiply quickly, leading to plaque buildup. Plaque is a sticky film of food debris, saliva, and bacteria that can adhere to your teeth and gums. If plaque isn’t removed, it can harden into tartar, which is difficult to remove and can cause gum disease.
3. Pain and Infection in the Mouth
If you have ever had a cavity, it can cause great pain. When left untreated, cavities can lead to tooth decay and infection. Tooth decay is caused by bacteria that live in the mouth and produce acids that eat away at the enamel of the teeth. If the decay is not removed, it can eventually reach the tooth’s pulp, causing an infection. Infections can be very serious and may even require hospitalization.
4. Jaw Problems and Headaches
Misaligned teeth can cause many problems, not just aesthetically but also with your jaw and its function. When your teeth are not straight, it can put undue stress on certain areas of your mouth, leading to headaches, pain, and clicking in the jaw. In more extreme cases, it can even lead to Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ), when the joint that hinges on your jaw becomes damaged. This happens when the muscles around the joint are overworked from tooth grinding or misalignment and become inflamed.
5. Difficult to Eat Properly and Chew Correctly
When teeth are decaying or missing, it can make chewing quite difficult. This can lead to digestion problems because the food isn’t properly broken down. In addition, if teeth are in poor condition, it can lead to pain and inflammation in the gums. This can make eating very uncomfortable and may cause a person to avoid certain foods altogether.
6. Change in Facial Appearance
Tooth loss has a significant impact on your appearance. Teeth play an important role in supporting the skin and muscles of the face. When teeth are lost, this support is gone, and the facial muscles begin to sag. The result is often a change in facial appearance, with the cheeks appearing sunken and the jawline becoming less defined.
7. Oral Cancer
One condition that is often overlooked is oral cancer. This type of cancer is more common in people who do not visit the dentist regularly, as early detection is essential for successful treatment. Regular dental exams can help to detect cancerous cells early when they are most likely to be successfully treated.
Dental problems can lead to several other health issues if left untreated. Infection, tooth decay, and gum disease are just a few examples of how dental problems can negatively affect your overall health. In some cases, these conditions may even be life-threatening. Dental problems can seriously impact a person’s overall health and quality of life if left untreated.