Oral Health and The Effect on Heart Health

Does poor oral health contribute to declines in brain health? | 3 min read

A tooth infection can result in memory loss when the infection spreads to the brain. When your cavity reaches the tooth’s root, the infection threatens nerves and blood vessels, which directly connect to the brain. Memory loss is unusual forgetfulness, and a person may be unable to remember new events or some memories.

What are the symptoms of memory loss?

  • Asking the same questions repeatedly.
  • Forgetting common words when speaking.
  • Mixing words up — saying “bed” instead of “table,” for example.
  • Taking longer to complete familiar tasks, such as following a recipe.
  • Misplacing items in inappropriate places.
  • Getting lost while walking or driving in a familiar area.
  • Having changes in mood or behaviour for no apparent reason.

How do cavities result in memory loss?

Cavities, also called tooth decay or caries, are permanently damaged areas in the hard surface of your teeth that develop into tiny openings or holes. It is caused by many factors, including bacteria in your mouth, frequent snacking, sipping sugary drinks, and not cleaning your teeth well. 

Who is at risk of getting cavities?

Everyone with natural teeth is at risk of getting cavities, but the following factors can increase risk:

  • Tooth location. Decay most often occurs in your back teeth (molars and premolars). These teeth have grooves, pits and crannies, and multiple roots that can collect food particles. 
  • Certain foods and drinks. Foods that cling to your teeth for a long time — such as milk, ice cream, honey, sugar, soda, dried fruit, cake, cookies, hard candy and mints, dry cereal, and chips.
  • Bedtime infant feeding. When babies have bedtime bottles filled with milk, formula, juice, or other sugar-containing liquids, these beverages remain on their teeth for hours while they sleep, feeding decay-causing bacteria. 
  • Inadequate brushing. If you don’t clean your teeth twice daily, plaque forms quickly, and the first stages of decay can begin.
  • Not getting enough fluoride. Fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral, helps prevent cavities and even reverses the earliest stages of tooth damage. 
  • Dry mouth. A dry mouth is caused by a lack of saliva, which helps prevent tooth decay by washing away food and plaque from your teeth. 
  • Worn fillings or dental devices. Over the years, dental fillings can weaken, begin to break down or develop rough edges. 
  • Heartburn. Heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease can cause stomach acid to flow into your mouth, removing the enamel of your teeth and causing significant tooth damage. 
  • Eating disorders. Anorexia and bulimia can lead to significant tooth erosion and cavities. Stomach acid from repeated vomiting (purging) washes over the teeth and dissolves the enamel. 

The signs and symptoms of cavities vary, depending on their extent and location. When a cavity is just beginning, you may not have any symptoms.

What are the symptoms of cavities?

  • Toothache, spontaneous pain, or pain that occurs without apparent cause.
  • Tooth sensitivity.
  • Mild to sharp pain when eating or drinking something sweet, hot, or cold.
  • Visible holes or pits in your teeth.
  • Brown, black, or white staining on any surface of a tooth.
  • Pain when you bite down.

You may not be aware that a cavity is forming. That’s why it’s essential to have regular dental checkups and cleanings, even when your mouth feels fine. However, if you experience a toothache or mouth pain, consult an Intercare dentist as soon as possible.

Sources

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