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Maximizing The Mouth-Body Link

Great oral hygiene does more than prevent periodontal disease, tooth decay and give you a self-esteem boost. It's been linked to being seen as more attractive, more successful and more employable, but there are also tangible health benefits that have nothing to do with your mouth. The mouth-body connection is a very real thing, and something awry with your teeth or gums can actually be a red flag that trouble is brewing in other parts of your body.

You can breathe easier knowing that regular, proper brushings can help prevent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is a respiratory disorder, as well as pneumonia. These two pathologies cause a large number of yearly deaths in the US and happen when bacteria enter the lower respiratory tract. Similarly, periodontal disease is also caused by a bacterial infection that breeds from plaque on the teeth. The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) published a study in 2011 that revealed periodontal disease bacteria is linked to COPD and pneumonia. President of the AAP Donald Clem says, "By working with your dentist or periodontist, you may actually be able to prevent or diminish the progression of harmful diseases."

Get a Bun in the Oven

Trying to conceive? Skip the "leg up the wall" tricks and instead focus on oral hygiene. Oral health is paramount when trying to get pregnant and for pregnant women as well-many of whom suffer from "pregnancy gingivitis." This early stage gum disease can quickly lead to full periodontal disease, which is in turn linked to premature births and low birth weights. The Journal of Periodontology has published research that revealed 79 percent of women with untreated gum disease had babies with low birth weights.

In contrast, only 4.1 percent of women who had healthy gums gave birth to babies with low birth weights. There have been other studies supporting this shocking finding, so for the health of your baby get regular dental checkups. Consider it just as crucial as prenatal vitamins and keeping a healthy pregnancy weight.

Did You Brush Today?

If you can't remember, the answer may be a resounding no since oral hygiene is linked to memory and cognitive function. Proper brushings have been shown to lower the risk of cognitive dysfunction as well as Alzheimer's. The American Dental Association reported in 2010 that there's a direct correlation between people who have periodontal swelling and low Digital Symbol Test (DST) results, which measures IQ. The study focused on people over the age of 70 who were at the highest risk of cognitive disorders and dementia.

Surprisingly, those who showed gum inflammation were nine times likelier to have low DST results. One of the leads on the study, Dr. Angela Kramer of New York University, says those with "periodontal inflammation are at an increased risk of lower cognitive function compared to cognitively normal subjects." As if you needed more reasons to keep up with your oral hygiene, protecting your health should top that list.

Original article published on amazines.com

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