Taking care of your gums is an essential part of maintaining your dental health. But what if it was worth more than that? As it turns out, your gums have a role to play when it comes to keeping your brain healthy—or sick. Here's what you need to know about this connection.
Gum Infections and the Brain
Gum infections can be dangerous. Gum and tooth infections can lead to sepsis, but they can also spread to the brain. It's not that hard, given the proximity of the two.
Unfortunately, the bacteria responsible for these infections can readily spread through the bloodstream once they make it there. Once you have a full-fledged gum infection, it's certain that the bacteria have access to your bloodstream, as bleeding gums are a common symptom of this problem.
Gum Disease and Alzheimer's
Did you know that poor gum health and dementia or Alzheimer's might be connected to each other? It's true. Scientists and doctors have discovered that the bacteria responsible for gum disease has been found in the brains of those with Alzheimer's. That's scary stuff. It's believed that the same bacteria responsible for gum infections can migrate there and create inflammation and tissue damage that can cause dementia further down the line in life.
What to Do
By now, you're probably worried about whether or not your gums are healthy. The good news is, it doesn't take a ton of work to get them there. The first thing you should do is visit a dentist's office. Your dentist can get rid of the plaque, tartar, and bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease and give you a fresh start.
Then, once that's accomplished, you need to start flossing. Traditional string floss and water flossers work almost equally well, so use whichever one works for you.
Finally, avoid processed foods and excess sugar. If you have to eat those things, make sure that you're brushing your teeth afterward to clear away the carbs and sugar. These molecules feed the bacteria responsible for gum disease, so they can wreak havoc on an otherwise healthy mouth.
Taking care of your gums could lead to you having a healthy brain in your future. Sadly, neglecting them could do the opposite. Don't put your future in danger just because you dislike flossing. Commit to flossing at least once a day and reap the benefits in the years to come. Talk to a dentist to learn more.