Unlocking the Connection: Dental Health and Brain Function | Dentist Carol Stream

From childhood, the importance of good oral hygiene, including brushing twice a day, is instilled in us. But does dental care extend beyond maintaining oral health? Recent studies have delved into this realm, seeking to uncover the link between oral health and neurological function. While definitive answers remain elusive, emerging evidence suggests a correlation between poor oral health and cognitive decline.

The repercussions of neglecting oral hygiene extend far beyond dental problems. Poor oral health can adversely affect the cardiovascular system, with men being particularly susceptible to cardiovascular diseases. Bacteria from the gums can infiltrate the bloodstream, leading to arterial hardening and potentially triggering heart attacks or strokes. Furthermore, inhaling bacteria-laden air from the mouth can compromise lung health. Inflamed and infected gums and teeth are common outcomes of inadequate oral hygiene practices.

But how does oral health intersect with brain function? Research indicates a potential association between poor oral health and dementia. Bacteria linked to gum disease may infiltrate the brain via nerve pathways or the bloodstream, contributing to cognitive decline. A recent study conducted by Rutgers University explored this connection, revealing significant correlations between oral health and cognitive aspects like memory and attention.

Additionally, there was a relationship between oral health and stress, or at least perceived stress. High levels of stress are associated with dry mouth. Good oral hygiene is even more important for the elderly. The downside of this is that it may lead to impaired cognitive function, episodic memory loss, or in the worst-case scenario, complete dementia.

Your first step should be to assess your own oral health methods. Develop better hygiene practices that could help safeguard you against any of the above issues. If you are unsure of where to begin, speak to your dentist. Make sure you are brushing your teeth at least twice a day, morning and night. Use a good toothpaste, preferably one containing fluoride. Make sure you are flossing every day to keep your gums healthy and prevent decay from developing between your teeth. Mouthwashes are effective in killing bacteria and, when used properly, can be advantageous as part of your oral health routine. Most importantly, be sure you see your dentist at least two times a year to have your teeth cleaned and examined.

At KL Family Dental, we prioritize your dental health needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards a healthier smile and brain.

KL Family Dental of Carol Stream
Phone: (630) 653-0020
503 Thornhill Dr.
Carol Stream, IL 60188