How Oral Health Affects Our Overall Well-Being: 8 Health Conditions Linked to Poor Dental Hygiene

Brushing your teeth and paying regular visits to the dentist can shield you from more than just bad breath and toothaches. Proper dental care can positively affect your overall health and well-being. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true. If you neglect your oral health, you may be opening yourself up to other illnesses.

In this article, we’ll discuss the different health problems that may arise from poor dental hygiene. To ease your worries, we’ll also cover how you can maintain healthy teeth and an overall healthy body.

How Does Oral Health Affect Your Overall Health and Well-Being?

A lot of people think that oral care is only essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. However, the truth is that the mouth can often act as an entryway for other infections. By neglecting dental health, one can allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream, leading to inflammation and disease in other parts of the body.

Gum disease, in particular, is linked to various other general health conditions. Major illnesses and oral health infections share common risk factors, and having these general health problems may worsen the symptoms of dental diseases. At the same time, poor dental conditions may also indicate underlying severe ailments, which in most cases of patients weren’t diagnosed yet. 

From heart problems to respiratory infections, many chronic conditions can arise from poor oral care. And, as mentioned, deteriorating oral health could indicate severe illnesses. So, let’s take a look at the different ways your dental hygiene mirrors your overall well-being.

8 General Health Conditions Linked to Poor Oral Health

#1: Diabetes

Diabetes seems to have a reciprocal relationship with dental diseases. People with diabetes typically suffer from gum problems because of their high blood sugar, weakening the teeth and gums. In turn, periodontitis inhibits their bodies’ ability to absorb insulin medication, which makes the symptoms of their diabetes worse. 

In one clinical study, researchers observed a possible connection between practicing good oral health habits and a lesser risk of developing new-onset diabetes. The study noted that the simple daily routine of brushing three times a day showed no links to the emergence of new-onset diabetes.

#2: Kidney Disease

Signs of poor oral health, such as periodontal disease or tooth loss, are common in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). For example, several studies have observed that patients with CKD have higher rates of decayed or missing teeth compared to the general population. In addition, due to their compromised immune system, CKD sufferers are also likely to experience more severe symptoms of dental diseases.

#3: Heart Disease

Taking care of your teeth and gums can help you keep your heart in good shape. According to a study shared by the American Dental Association, oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream and lead to arterial plaque. Additionally, they have data pointing that there are links between oral health and cardiovascular health.

#4: Respiratory Infections

There is an established connection between dental health problems and respiratory infections. When the bacteria in your mouth gets pulled into your lungs, this might lead to illnesses like pneumonia.

In one study, researchers saw how elderly patients’ risk of pneumonia was related to their quality of oral health. By receiving regular professional oral health care and improving oral hygiene among high-risk elderly living in nursing homes, the progression and occurrence of respiratory diseases were reduced.

#5: Rheumatoid Arthritis

According to the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are found to have an increased risk of developing gum disease, being four times more likely to have periodontal problems than people without RA. They may also face more severe symptoms, including receding gums, bleeding, and tooth loss.

#6: Stroke

Several studies have observed an association between poor oral health and strokes. For example, one research cited that unlike generally healthy individuals, people with gum disease have a 17% higher risk of getting a stroke. Another study looked into the link between stroke and periodontal diseases among US veterans and concluded a “very strong association.”

#7: Pregnancy Complications

Although proper oral care is essential for everyone, expecting moms should take extra precautions to keep their teeth and gums healthy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, poor oral health during pregnancy can lead to health complications for both the mother and baby. In addition, untreated periodontitis is associated with low birth weight, preterm births, and early onset contractions for the mom.

#8: Dementia

Oral health doesn’t just affect your physical state but your mental faculties as well. In fact, a National Institutes of Health study found an association between gingivitis, caries, tooth loss, and other dental diseases and the risk of developing cognitive impairment.

Start Taking Charge of Your Oral Health Today!

Now that you understand how the state of our teeth and gums affects our overall well-being, it’s time to invest in your dental care. The road to good oral health begins with brushing your teeth regularly, and the PRO-SYS VarioSonic Electric Toothbrush can be the perfect tool to get you started.

This dentist-recommended and ADA-accepted electric toothbrush can be personalized to meet your specific oral health needs. With its strong cleaning powers and customizable brush heads, you’re bound to find the combination that works best for you. So, invest in your dental care today and enjoy a lifetime of healthy teeth!