Brushing your teeth is an essential part of your morning and evening routine, however 29% of Brits only brush their teeth once a day, and 2% don’t brush their teeth at all.1

What risks can come from not undertaking a thorough cleaning of your teeth on a twice-daily basis? We’ve looked at some health issues that could be caused by having a poor dental routine.

Gum disease

Gum disease, or gingivitis, is an infection of the tissues which surround the teeth (i.e. the gums), caused by a build-up of plaque which contains bacteria.2 This condition can be easily prevented by adopting a thorough cleaning routine, ensuring you brush your teeth twice a day and flossing regularly.

Not only can gum disease cause inflammation and tenderness in your gums, it can also lead to much more serious health conditions including diabetes and heart issues (which we discuss further on) and has even been linked with problems in pregnancy and dementia, so it’s important to keep on top of your dental hygiene.3

Cardiovascular issues

It may seem hard to believe, but poor dental hygiene can have a lasting impact on the health of your heart. Cardiovascular disease can be caused by the bacteria from the inflamed gums and bones surrounding the teeth entering the bloodstream and travelling to the arteries.4 From here, the bacteria can cause atherosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries, where a plaque develops in the inner arteries and prevents or decreases the flow of blood – this heightens both the risk of stroke and heart attacks.4

The bad bacteria caused by a poor dental routine can also lead to endocarditis, where the inner lining of the heart becomes inflamed and infected.4

Bad breath

A common trait of poor dental hygiene, affecting one in four people, is bad breath (also known as halitosis).5 Bad breath is caused by food particles remaining in the mouth, encouraging bacteria to grow between the teeth and gums and on the tongue.6

Persistent bad breath could be the sign of a more serious dental-related condition, such as gum disease caused by the build of plaque on the teeth or yeast infections in the mouth. This common problem is also known to cause mental distress due to people feeling self-conscious that their breath has an unpleasant odour.5 Read our blog by dentist and bacteriologist, Dr Katz, to find out more about how good dental habits can fight bad breath.

Staining and discolouring

Some experts have a rule of thumb: if a food or drink would stain your clothes, it’s likely to stain your teeth. So, depending on your diet, your teeth could be susceptible to both discolouring or staining.7

Whilst this isn’t as serious as other dental conditions, it can still have an impact on your wellbeing. Having discoloured teeth can potentially lead to a lack of confidence and make you unwilling to smile, both of which can affect your mental wellbeing.8

Helping you have a healthy smile

For a truly healthy and happy set of teeth, you should visit a dentist regularly. Your dentist will advise how frequently you need to have a check-up, but it can be anywhere from every three months to 24 months, depending on your oral health.9

Rather worryingly, a third of Brits have admitted they haven’t been to a dentist in over two years – but it isn’t because of the fear of a dentist, it’s down to the cost.10

But help is at hand! Did you know that with a health care cash plan, you can claim money back towards your dental costs? Good All Round from Sovereign Health Care pays money back towards NHS and private dental treatment and check-ups, including hygienist fees, dentures, fillings and x-rays, so the cost doesn’t need to be a barrier. You can also claim money back towards other everyday health care costs, such as eye-tests, glasses and contact lenses, trips to the physio and much more.  

Visit Sovereign HealthHub for more articles on health and wellbeing.

1YouGov, 2NHS, 3NHS, 4Colgate, 5Medical News Today, 6WebMD, 7Live Science8Colgate, 9NHS, 10Independent

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