Oral hygiene prevents cavities, tooth loss, and bad breath: the overall contributor to good oral health. You know that oral health is about your mouth, but it also affects the rest of your body. Problems from poor dental hygiene can lead to major health issues, including the following.

Respiratory problems

The mouth is constantly filled with bacteria that are mostly harmless. Since it is an entry point, the bacteria in your mouth can get to your digestive and respiratory systems. However, some bacteria that are harmless in your mouth lead to complications in other organs.

According to the Journal of Periodontology, gum diseases can lead to lung infections, including pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). If you have infected teeth and gums, the bacteria from them can get into your respiratory tract when you inhale through your mouth. The bacteria will then cause inflammation in your airways and cause infections.

Heart disease

Bacteria easily infect your mouth and cause periodontal diseases when you have poor oral health. It can enter the bloodstream through the affected area, travel to your arteries, and cause atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is the hardening of the arteries due to the buildup of plaque in your blood vessels. The inner walls of your arteries thicken, and the blood flowing through your body will be blocked or decreased. It increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and can induce a heart attack or stroke. The bacteria can also infect the inner lining of the heart chambers and cause inflammation — a condition known as heart valve infection or endocarditis.

Sleep apnea

Dentists can diagnose sleep apnea, which, according to https://grandridgedental.net/, is linked to hypertension and heart disease. Bruxism is a mouth malady that is a common symptom of sleep apnea, and is characterized by excessive teeth clenching and grinding.

Your dentist can tell that you have bruxism if the surfaces of your teeth are worn or broken, your gums are receding or inflames, and your teeth become more prone to cavities.

Diabetic symptoms

Inflamed gum tissue and periodontal diseases make it a lot more difficult to control your blood sugar, and worsen the symptoms of diabetes. This makes diabetic people more vulnerable to periodontal diseases.

Diabetic people should pay more attention to their oral health, and dental treatments may even help improve their symptoms.


Some studies suggest that oral health is linked to dementia, and that poor oral health increases the risk of dementia. The bacteria from gingivitis supposedly spread to the brain through the cranial nerves connected to the jaw, or through the bloodstream. The bacteria can even contribute to the development of plaque that causes Alzheimer’s disease.

Pregnancy and birth complications

Research suggests that pregnant women with periodontitis are at risk of pregnancy and birth complications. Women with periodontitis who are of childbearing age also tend to take around two months longer to conceive. When they do get pregnant, they might have higher odds of miscarriage, premature birth, and low birth weight.

You can prevent major diseases just by taking care of your oral health. Just practice regular oral hygiene, have a healthy diet, and avoid unhealthy practices. By investing in your oral health, you are also investing in your overall health.