If you think poor dental hygiene can lead to nothing more than just tooth decay or gum problems, think again. Not brushing your teeth will not only lead to you bad breath; it could also lead to grave, serious consequences.
In 2013, researchers from the University of Central Lancashire also discovered a type of bacterium known as Porphyromonas gingivalis, which was found in patients with Alzheimer's disease; this bacterium is associated with recurring gum disease. According to them, the bacteria are capable of leaving the mouth and directly entering the brain in two ways: (1) by crawling up the nerves connecting the tooth roots and the brain or (2) via the blood circulation system.
In 2007, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health were able to discover the link between periodontitis and pancreatic cancer. Gingivitis, however, was not linked to any contributing risk for cancer, but it can lead to periodontitis if left untreated. The greatest risk for pancreatic cancer was found in men who recently lost a tooth due to this gum disease.
The link between poor dental hygiene and heart disease is the most well-established. The risk of heart disease is higher for people who have bleeding gums as this allows bacteria to enter into the bloodstream, stick to the platelets, and interrupt blood flow to the heart.
To preserve your overall oral health, and resultantly, minimize the risk for Alzheimer's disease, the American Dental Hygienists' Association advises us to brush our teeth for at least two minutes, twice each day. Factors that affect our gum health include obesity, tobacco use, and tooth loss.