Most of us are already aware that poor dental hygiene can be a major cause of bad breath, cavities, and even gum disease. However, a lack of brushing and flossing can actually lead to much more serious illnesses.
Harmful bacteria can accumulate on top of and between teeth that aren’t cleaned regularly, and since the mouth is the “gateway to the body”, this bacteria can find its way into the bloodstream, causing various illnesses.
If you aspire to become a dental hygienist, knowing the possible long-term effects of poor oral hygiene can help you teach future patients the importance of regular brushing and flossing.
How You Can Help Prevent Heart Disease As A Dental Hygienist
Once you become a dental hygienist, helping patients develop good oral health to achieve beautiful smiles wona��t be your only job. In fact, in promoting healthy oral habits, youa��ll also be helping them prevent heart disease!
The bacteria produced by periodontal disease, or gum disease, can enter the bloodstream, travel to the arteries in the heart and cause what’s referred to as atherosclerosis. AtherosclerosisA�is the hardening of arteries due to plaque forming on their inner walls. This restricts blood flow through the body, and may even create blockages. Patients who develop heart disease risk having a heart attack or a stroke, and by helping change their dental hygiene habits, you could save them from serious issues in the long run.
Why Dementia is Often Linked to Poor Oral Health and Gingivitis
Gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums, is a common dental health issue that you’ll learn all about in your dental hygiene courses. In older patients, if gingivitis is left unattended for too long, bacteria can enter the brain, through nerve channels or the bloodstream, and can cause dementia. Additionally, this can even put patients at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
A Good Dental Hygienist Ensures Diabetic Patients Take Extra Care of Their Teeth
Dental hygienists know that it is crucial for patients suffering from diabetes to practice good dental habits, like brushing and flossing regularly. It’s common for adults with diabetes to also develop gum disease, and since diabetes tends to make people more susceptible to contracting infections, cases that advanced cases can cause patients to lose their teeth.
Gum disease can also make it difficult for patients with diabetes to control their blood sugar, which can lead to even more complications.
Reduce the Risk of Lung Infections Once You Become a Dental Hygienist
Gum disease can cause respiratory infections, like pneumonia. This can occur from bacteria entering the bloodstream and reaching the lungs, or when patients simply inhale bacteria from their infected teeth and gums over longer periods of time.
Studies have shown that poor dental hygiene is a possible cause of these serious illnesses, along with several others, such as pancreatic cancer. Once you become a dental hygienist, advising patients on the importance of maintaining good dental hygiene could save them from serious complications in their overall health, making you a key member of their healthcare team.
Are you interested in learning more by pursuing dental hygienist training?
Visit CADH to learn more about our programs or to speak with an advisor.