The Scottish Mail on Sunday
10 REASONS TO... GET WONKY TEETH FIXED
1 STRAIGHT TEETH MEAN HEALTHIER GUMS
The Inbetweeners actor James Buckley, 29, revealed that he is spending £2,000 on dental braces because seeing ‘buff’ men on social media made him feel insecure. James joked that when he looked in a mirror, he saw Austin Powers staring back at him. But he could be doing his overall health a favour: the benefits of fixing wonky teeth (medically known as malocclusions), extend beyond the cosmetic. A 2008 review of 98 studies concluded that orthodontic treatment reduced the risk of gum disease – which could prevent a host of other illnesses…
2 CUT HEART DISEASE RISK
In 2016, researchers at North Carolina School of Dentistry found that patients with gum disease were twice as likely as others to die from a heart attack. It is believed that oral bacteria trigger the release of inflammatory molecules called cytokines, which interfere with the ability of the heart vessels to relax and contract, impeding healthy blood flow.
3 PREVENT STROKES
Adults with gum disease may be twice as likely as people with healthy gums to suffer a stroke, according to American research published this year. Stroke risk rose with the level of disease.
4 PERK UP YOUR SEX LIFE
Men are three times more likely to develop erectile dysfunction if they are suffering from periodontal disease. This is believed to be a knock-on effect of overall circulatory problems that are the result of the infection.
5 BOOST YOUR MEMORY
Patients with gingivitis (swollen, bleeding gums) performed worse on tests of memory and other cognitive skills than did those with healthier gums and mouths, according to a report in the Journal Of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.
6 SLOW DOWN ALZHEIMER’S
In a study published last year, British scientists tracked Alzheimer’s patients over a period of six months and found that the group with gum disease suffered cognitive decline at six times the rate of the group without gum disease. It is thought that the body’s response to gum inflammation may hasten the brain’s decline.
7 IT MIGHT PROTECT YOUR JOINTS
American researchers examined gum fluid of people with periodontitis and found it contained high levels of citrullinated proteins, a type known to trigger an immune response in those with rheumatoid arthritis. Volunteers with healthy mouths had minimal citrullinated proteins in their gum fluid.
8 IT’LL MAKE DIABETES MORE MANAGEABLE
It has been found that gum disease may make it harder to keep diabetes under control, as infection and inflammation in the oral cavity can have an effect on blood sugar.
9 PROTECT YOUR LUNGS
Dentists in the UK published a study in 2014 outlining the importance of maintaining good dental health in people with chronic lung disease. The authors noted that, as bacteria around the gums can travel into the lung and cause infections, dental hygiene should be a priority among sufferers.
10 TAKE CARE IF YOU’RE PREGNANT
Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can cause women to experience oral health problems, but a link has also been found between oral health, premature birth and low birth weight. One recent study suggested that pregnant women at high risk of premature birth who go to a dental hygienist may cut their risk by a third, although the reason for this is not clear.