How Keeping Teeth Healthy Keeps the Mind Clean

This article is a guest post published by the team at Wonderful Dental.

healthy teeth tips

Do you know that the health of your mouth is a reflection of your body’s overall health and wellness? You might not know this but, the most common diseases and health conditions are linked to oral health. You might be asking what does the health of your teeth and gums have to do with your brain? What is the connection between missing teeth and memory loss?

Research studies show that memory loss is caused by missing teeth. It is not clear though how that part of your brain known as hippocampus is stimulated when you chew. This simply means that when you have fewer teeth it sends less signals to the hippocampus. Think of this important part of your brain as a guardian of your memories.

Recent research studies have found out that insulin receptors in the hippocampus are involved in memory. When you chew, this increases your heart rate. When oxygen is delivered to the brain your cognitive power is enhanced to some degree.  This is the simplest explanation for the important role of having teeth when you chew.

Importance of Oral Health to Overall Health

Oral health is not just about your teeth, mouth, and gums. Your mouth is the entrance into your body. When you suffer from poor oral health this will negatively affect your entire body.  Bacteria, when it enters your mouth, can enter your bloodstream. When the bacteria is in your bloodstream eventually this will cause infection and inflammation. For this reason, you need to practice good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly. If you don’t want to suffer from serious health complications you need to take better good care of your teeth. Also , when you have healthy teeth you have more confidence to smile more which elevates your mood.

Health Problems Bad Teeth Can Cause

Dementia: Do you know that just one missing tooth can begin your journey into dementia in old age? The bad news is that risk goes higher for each additional tooth that you lost. Poor oral health affects the brain. This is because there are substances released from your inflamed gums that can kill brain cells. This leads to memory loss.

How to prevent the risk of dementia:

  • Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day. Do this preferably after each meal. Try to brush your teeth for at least two minutes. Don’t forget to brush your tongue and the back of your teeth.
  • Check if your toothpaste and mouthwash contain fluoride. Dental products that contain fluoride in the right quantity can protect your teeth by strengthening your tooth enamel.
  • As much as you can avoid foods that will weaken your tooth enamel such as those that contain sugars and acids
  • Quit smoking: Smoking tobacco causes a lack of oxygen in your bloodstream. This can lead to infected gums. When you smoke your swollen gums heal slowly.  Besides smoking can cause unsightly stains in your teeth

There is a theory of how dementia and maybe even Alzheimer’s disease is a result of gingivitis. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease or referred to as periodontal disease. Here are the common symptoms of gingivitis.

  • Swollen or puffed gums
  • Dusky or dark red gums
  • Bleeding gums when you brush or use dental floss
  • Bad breath
  • Receding Gums
  • Tender Gums

If you have gingivitis you will likely perform poorly on these two tests: Delayed verbal recall and subtraction. These are skills that you will need for everyday life. You can stop gingivitis in its tracks, but first let’s discuss how gingivitis forms:

Gingivitis Stages

  • Poor oral hygiene:It all starts with poor oral hygiene. This encourages plaque to form in your teeth
  • Plaque formation in your teeth:When starches and sugar from the food that you eat interact with bacteria. An invisible sticky film composes mainly of bacteria forms in your teeth. Plaque spreads easily.
  • Plaque turns into tartar:When plaque stays in your mouth it lodges in the gum line. Tartar forms to shield and protect the bacteria. It is harder to remove and might irritate your gum line. You will need professional dental cleaning to remove tartar.
  • Inflamed and irritated gums: Once the plaque and tartar remain in your teeth this will irritate your gums. Your gums will become swollen and even when you brush your gums bleed easily. Eventually, tooth decay sets in. Once you left gingivitis untreated this can lead to periodontitis and tooth loss.

Parkinson’s Disease:Dry mouth is a common side effect of taking Parkinson’s disease medications. Slow movements can affect your motor control when you suffer from this disease. It will be harder to floss and brush your teeth. A form of stiffness or body rigidity is associated with Parkinson’s. This makes it difficult to initiate movements like brushing your teeth. Good oral health and dental hygiene can prevent dental problems. When you left your dental problems untreated this can lead to tooth decay and dental cavities.

The stress on your body can make it hard to swallow and speak. It is therefore important to schedule a regular visit to the dentist. Ask your dentist how you can live with Parkinson’s. He will teach you the right way to brush and floss. You will be advised to modify body movements or use specialized dental products that can prevent cavities.

Brain abscess: An abscess in the brain is caused by a bacterial infection. Fungal brain abscess affects people that have weakened the immune system. Brain abscess forms when bacteria, fungi or viruses reach your brain through a wound in your head or the presence of infection.

Infections from other parts of the body account for about 20 to 50 percent of brain abscess cases. Abscess of the brain can start from a simple case of an abscessed tooth. This is also known as a periodical tooth abscess. This can be a result of dental injury, untreated dental cavity, or prior dental work went wrong.

If this describes the current condition of your teeth and gums, listen and learn. The infection will cause your brain to swell.  If you consult your dentist, he can treat tooth abscess to drain it out of infection. He might use root canal treatment or if he can no longer save your teeth he will pull it out.

Brain Abscess Symptoms from a Tooth Infection

  • An increase case of Irritability and confusion
  • Decreased sensation
  • Decreased movement due to loss of muscle function
  • Changes in eyesight (vision)
  • Change in behavior
  • Stiff neck with fever and chills
  • Vomiting

A simple step to healthier gums and teeth: tooth brushing exercise

You need to clean your teeth to prevent diseases from spreading through the rest of your body. The second reason would be to prevent tooth loss. Since you use your mouth and teeth for eating and talking this unique environment needs your special care and attention.

Here are easy to follow steps on how to brush your tooth while “brushing your brain”. Some dental experts refer to this as mindful brushing because it gives your brain the chance to rest. Once you are in a relaxed mood this will set a peaceful tone throughout the day and even at night before you go to sleep.

  • Put toothpaste in your toothbrush
  • While you begin brushing breathe through your nose gently and deliberately
  • While you brush relax your neck and jaw
  • Taste the toothpaste as it touches your tongue
  • Rinse and breathe deeply through your nose
  • Feel gratitude for your teeth because it can allow you to chew, smile and speak

The Bottom Line

You must remain vigilant in guarding and protecting your oral health. If it is your goal to improve your smile your dentist can help you select the best treatment option. Whether your teeth problems include missing teeth or a crooked set of teeth, your dentist can give you more options.  You need to see your dentist regularly to ensure that you will have healthy teeth and mind for a lifetime. Remember, that you only one set of teeth and only one mind. You can keep both of these in the best working condition. Keep in tabs about the latest studies and pick up tips on how to maintain your oral health as you age.

It is never too late to start caring for your teeth and gums. By this time, you have realized that this is not just for aesthetic and cosmetic purposes alone. There is a psychological effect of staring at yourself in the mirror and seeing a complete set of teeth. When you smile you are pleased with what you are looking at. This builds your self-confidence. A healthy smile shows the world and those who look at you that you are ready to face anything that comes your way.

This article was a guest post published by the team at Wonderful Dental.

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