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Sticky bacterial plaque that builds up on your teeth and inflamed, bleeding gums do more than just threaten your dental health.

A growing body of research finds that bacteria and inflammation in your mouth are also linked to other problems, including heart attackand dementia, and may well jeopardize your overall health.

Scientists have identified several links between poor oral health and other health problems — although they can’t yet establish cause and effect. This list of health problems has been growing as research continues.

Plaque and Its Effects on Your Dental Health

Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. When you eat or drink foods or beverages with sugars or starches, the bacteria release acids that attack your tooth enamel.

The plaque is so sticky that it keeps the acids in contact with your teeth, in time breaking down the enamel and leading to tooth decay.