If you're like most people, you don't exactly look forward to your next trip to the dentist. But what you may not know is that regular check-ups are good for a lot more than just your teeth. If you would like to learn more about the health benefits of regular dental cleanings, read on. This article will introduce you to three diseases your dentist can help keep at bay.

Heart Disease

It's no secret that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Yet it's only recently that research has begun to indicate a link between your dental health and that of your heart. In fact, it has been shown that gum diseases such as gingivitis greatly increase the risk of suffering both strokes and heart attacks.

Although the exact correlation between these diseases still isn't known, it seems likely that it has to do with certain bacteria involved in gum disease. Those with a high level of these bacteria in their mouths are more likely to develop atherosclerosis--one of the leading causes of stroke. By preventing such bacteria from building up, regular dental cleanings help stave off life-threatening heart conditions.

Dementia

Dementia is yet another disorder with strong links to gum disease. In this case, it is believed that the specific cause is a species of bacteria by the name of porphyromonas gingivalis--a bacteria that has been detected in the brains of individuals with dementia.

This bacteria, it seems, is able to progress from the mouth upward to the brain, where it is capable of causing memory loss. According to research conducted among a study group comprised of 5,500 senior citizens, those who brush less than once a day were significantly more likely to develop dementia. In other words, improper dental hygiene can lead to dementia by allowing dangerous strains of bacteria to proliferate.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

There is a strong and well documented correlation between arthritis and gum disease--one that seems to work in both directions. On the one hand, studies have indicated that those with arthritis are more at risk of developing gum disease. In fact, their risk factor may be as high as eight times that of people without arthritis.

At the same time, it has been shown that when individuals suffering from arthritis were treated for gum disease, there was a drastic decline in their arthritic symptoms. As far as doctors are able to tell, this has something to do with inflammation, which is a contributing factor in both conditions. By treating the inflammation caused by gum disease, dentists are able to reduce the inflammation that triggers arthritis. For help, contact a clinic like Mantitou Family dentistry.

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