5 Ways Poor Dental Health Can Affect Your Overall Health

Good oral health is often associated with having fresh breath, white teeth, and protection from cavities and gum disease. However, in addition to these obvious effects, your dental health plays a much bigger role in safeguarding your overall wellbeing. The reason for this is that the mouth acts as a pathway through which bacteria find their way into your body. Consequently, the bacteria enter your bloodstream and start causing adverse effects to your body.

With this in mind, it’s clear that there’s a need to take excellent care of your mouth and teeth. If you’re looking for professional dental services to know or improve the state of your dental health, you can discover more here. For now, it’s best if you learn of these five fundamental ways poor dental health is linked to your overall health:

1. Cardiovascular Disease

The long-term buildup of bacteria in your mouth, along with the carbohydrates and sugars in the food you’re eating, eventually leads to gum disease or gingivitis and tooth decay. When this happens, your gum might start bleeding, creating a pathway for the germs to enter your bloodstream. The bacteria can consequently travel to other parts of your body. If they reach your heart, they might cause a heart condition referred to as endocarditis. This disease affects the inner coating of your heart’s valves and chambers.

Increased bacteria accumulation in your mouth also leads to a heart condition known as atherosclerosis. This is caused by the bacteria entering your bloodstream, resulting in increased plaque buildup in the arteries, which gradually harden over time. As a result of this plaque, you might suffer from heart blockages and blood flow complications, which increases the chances of you suffering a heart attack. In addition, it might result in hypertension or stroke.

2. Respiratory Infection

Periodontal diseases produce bacteria that might get into your lungs through the bloodstream. These bacteria can lead to respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and acute bronchitis when they reach the lungs. These infections arise because the bacteria are colonizing the respiratory tract. As a result, your body’s immune system is negatively impacted and you start having a hard time fending off lung diseases.

Poor oral health can also intensify the severity of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a severe life-threatening disease. Moreover, ignoring proper oral health can cause the degradation of dental tissues. Over time, you might have difficulty breathing.

3. Diabetes

Periodontitis is a severe gum infection that causes the inflammation of your gums and eventually leads to them detaching from your teeth and creating gaps. Bacteria can easily infect these open gaps, which are incredibly difficult to manage if you have diabetes. So, if you have health conditions like diabetes that make you more prone to infections, you shouldn’t overlook the importance of proper dental hygiene.

Because diabetes hinders your body’s ability to regulate your blood sugar levels and to fight off infection, it creates a rich environment that promotes increased bacteria growth. Together, these conditions lead to serious oral health problems. Knowing this, you need to take great care of your oral health to avoid any further worsening of your existing condition.

4. Increased Risk of Premature Birth

Pregnant women know too well to go for routine checkups, avoid certain foods, and use prenatal vitamins. Nonetheless, they may forget to take care of their dental health, and this is a fatal mistake you mustn’t make. This is crucial because an increased amount of pregnancy hormones in your body can worsen existing oral health issues. In addition, hormonal changes mean you’re more likely to suffer from oral health complications.

For example, periodontitis during pregnancy negatively affects the unborn child’s development. Likewise, it increases the risk of premature birth or the child being born underweight.

5. Greater Risk of Dementia

Ignoring proper oral hygiene increases your predisposition to dementia-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. This happens after the bacteria from oral problems such as gingivitis enter your bloodstream or your head’s nerve channels, eventually making their way to your brain. When this happens, your body’s immune response starts killing brain cells. This starts to cause symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s disease, including confusion and memory loss.


Because there isn’t a clear connection between oral health and your overall health, it’s easy to ignore the importance of maintaining good dental hygiene. However, what most people don’t realize is that this predisposes them to suffer from certain health conditions that affect their overall wellbeing. If you were somewhat skeptical, this guide should’ve resolved any reservations you might have had about the importance of proper dental hygiene in promoting overall health and wellness.

Images: Adobe Stock

Leave a Comment