Dental Procedure Pain: Get the Facts

Can Poor Oral Health Lead To Death?

You may have heard stories of people being refused insurance payouts because of their undeclared poor oral health. There are stories of oral health leading to poor overall and possibly death. Is this really true? Here's a look at the link between poor oral health and death.

Affects the Immune System

Gum disease has been linked to a poor immune system. The disease means that the immune system is constantly compromised, and can't fight against other diseases as it usually would. Mercury Safe Dentists states that moderate or severe gum disease can lead to a shorter life than average and are at a higher risk of dying early. In fact, those with gingivitis or periodontitis see their risk of dying increased by 23-46%.

Higher Risk of Stroke and Heart Disease

Those who have gum disease have a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. This is due to the bacteria in the mouth getting into the bloodstream. The bacteria causes plaque to form within the bloodstream, causing blockages so the blood can't pass around the body properly. There is also the theory that the vessels become inflamed due to infection, also making it harder for the blood to pump around the body.

Poor vessels have already been linked to poor cardiovascular health. For example, those who are overweight or have high blood pressure are more likely to have fatty plaques in the vessels, restricting the blood flow. They are at a higher risk of having a heart attack for the same reason as those who have poor oral health.

Higher Risk of Dementia

Those who have poor oral health are also more likely to suffer from dementia. This is linked to the inflammation, which makes it difficult for the brain to get the blood flow it needs. There are also risks of the brain cells inflaming, so they start to die sooner than normal.

While dementia doesn't directly lead to death, those with dementia tend to have shorter life expectancies.

Suffer from Respiratory Problems

Another issue with the bacteria in gum disease is that it can get into the respiratory tract. Those who already have respiratory problems like asthma could see them getting worse. However, it can also lead to problems in those with normally healthy lungs. The bacteria can lead to bronchitis and pneumonia, which can both lead to death.

In short, poor oral health can lead to death. It is important to brush and floss daily to protect the gums from disease. For more information, contact a dentist such as Gayle S. Cox, Jr., DDS.