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Many people think that if they don’t brush their teeth or take poor care of their gums, that only their mouth will be affected. Some may even think, It’s okay. Cosmetic dentists can give me a new smile. While that is true about great cosmetic dentistry, poor oral health affects much more than a person’s smile. It can affect a person’s self-esteem, and poor oral health was recently linked to several serious health issues.

Mental Anguish

Self-esteem can be affected by the way we physically see ourselves in a mirror or how we know others see us. Studies show that those who are teased because of the way they look have lower self-esteem. They begin to not like themselves. Damaged teeth and gingivitis can affect how much a person smiles. They may feel self-conscious about the way they look while smiling. While a cosmetic dentist can definitely give a person a beautiful smile, some of the expense could have been minimized simply by implementing good and simple oral hygiene techniques.

Bacterial Presence

Researches in the United Kingdom recently found a link between the bacteria known as Porphyromonas gingivalis and dementia in the brains of deceased patients while they were living. That particular bacteria is associated with gum disease. This study was recently published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. This is an important finding. Anytime bacteria enters the brain, extra chemicals can be released that impair brain function.

Recently in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, a professor led a study involving several Olympians. The Olympians were from Africa, the Americas, and Europe. In this study, it was found that more than half (55%) of those involved had tooth decay. Seventy-five percent of the athletes had gingivitis (gum disease). Fifteen percent had periodontitis which is an irreversible form of gum disease. Close to 10% of the athletes had not seen a dentist in the last year. Most complained of oral health issues stating it negatively impacted their training.

Serious Health Concerns

Throat cancer can be caused by HPV. University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston found in 2009 that HPV may be linked to poor dental health. Close to 4,000 people participated in this study. They found that factors of developing HPV included some basic demographic information such as age and gender, marijuana or cigarette use, and oral hygiene. According to the study, those with bad oral hygiene increased their risk of HPV by 56%. HPV needs a mouth wound in order to settle in the mouth. This is why those with bad oral hygiene may be at higher risk. They have more mouth sores that raise the risk of infection.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Last year, researchers found that when a form of bacteria known as Fusobacteria is found in the mouth, a person is at higher risk for this deadly form of cancer.

It’s not just your smile that’s affected. While a cosmetic dentist can help you achieve the smile of your dreams, a healthy mouth can cut down your risk for debilitating diseases. It is important to see your dentist at least twice a year. Many dentists offer a complimentary consultation for the first visit. This is a great opportunity to assess your needs and come up with a plan.