Photo: dipurinku|MERGED (flickr)
You may have heard that brushing and flossing are important for oral health.
But what does dental health have to do with mental health?
Studies suggest that gum disease, especially, can affect the brain. Some studies have found that older people with gum disease are more likely to have memory loss and other cognitive problems like dementia.
But isn’t it possible that people with memory loss or dementia are more likely to forget to brush and floss their teeth, which would lead to dental problems?
In other words, maybe memory loss causes poor oral health, instead of the other way around. Could be. But there’s compelling evidence that gum disease can lead to cognitive disorders.
Scientists think it has to do with inflammation. Researchers are still trying to figure out exactly how this might work. But scientists know that gum disease involves a lot of swelling.
And inflammation can have all sorts of harmful affects throughout the body, including in the brain.
It could mean that gum disease could cause swelling in the brain that damages brain tissue.
Oral Health Is Important
Scientists are still looking into the details. But other studies have uncovered links between dental health and heart disease. The point is that oral health isn’t just about teeth and gums. Brushing and flossing are really important for overall health.