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Health Issues Caused By Bad Oral Health: Can Bad Teeth Affect Your Overall Health?

March 23, 2023

oral health

We’ve all been taught to care for our teeth since we were kids, but for various reasons, some of us may’ve forgotten this teaching and discarded taking care of oral hygiene, leading to poor oral health. Some analyses have shown that half of the adults don’t brush their teeth twice a day, which kind of explains the global state of poor dental health. Here we’ll discuss the importance of oral health and how taking care of our teeth, gums, and mouth affects the overall health condition of our bodies.

The Mouth is a Gateway to the Entire Body

Have you heard the phrase: health enters by the mouth? Well, it is a faithful saying, as is how we perform oral hygiene, as our overall health is closely related to oral health. The opposite is also true, as sometimes toothaches, bleeding gums, and even bad breath can indicate an underlying health concern.

If you don’t believe it, please read the explanations below that outline the possible serious health problems arising from poor oral hygiene.

Respiratory Infections and Breathing Issues

A person with poor oral health is at risk of contracting a respiratory problem. If you live with an infected tooth or gum, your mouth fosters harmful pathogens that you can inhale in the lungs, causing a respiratory problem. While not always the case, people with severe gum infections have trouble breathing because the infection can affect the tissues and cause acute bronchitis or even pneumonia.

Cardiovascular Problems

There has been a definite link between people with periodontal disease and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The mouth contains permeable blood vessels that absorb things, including bacteria. If you have an infected tooth, you risk the pathogen bacteria entering your bloodstream, causing problems like clogged or hardened arteries, high blood pressure, or heart muscle inflammation.


Yes, you are reading this correctly, as poor dental health can lead to problems with diabetes and vice versa, as these health issues affect each other adversely. Let’s put it this way: poor dental health can cause issues with diabetes, and diabetes can also cause problems with oral health. It is linked to possible cellular inflammation, as inflamed tissues in the mouth are linked to possible insulin resistance. Thus, if you already have diabetes, you should take extra care of your gums and teeth.

Increased Risk of Stroke and Dementia

Another serious health concern related to poor oral health is the increased risk of stroke. The weak link is vascular inflammation, as some studies have shown that poor oral health and inflamed or infected teeth and gums can leak pathogens into the bloodstream, disrupting the normal functioning of the immune system and causing an inflammatory cascade.

Inflammation and Kidney Disease

As with the other point above, poor dental hygiene and rotten teeth can adversely affect the kidneys. It is linked to the impact of periodontal disease on the immune system, and a weakened immune system is more susceptible to infections in the heart, bones, and kidneys. Inflammation is a serious issue, and poor oral health is a significant contributor.

Loss of teeth and mental problems

Not caring for your teeth can be detrimental to your health, but it also means you risk losing your teeth. Yep, it is a severe issue in itself, as if you live with pain in your teeth, the first thing you’ll need to forgo are some of your favourite foods. Being unable to chew solid foods can lead to problems with indigestion and digestive tracts, and people with poor teeth usually turn to softer foods.

Inadequate oral hygiene is often linked to bad breath; the tongue is where smelly bacteria lurks, and not cleaning it can be very unpleasant for you and the people around you. It can also affect a relationship, as a person with bad breath can forgo kissing their partner, putting a strain on the relationship.

Another issue related to poor dental hygiene is missing teeth which affects your speech and smile. People with missing teeth tend to smile less, are ashamed of their missing teeth, and are more prone to mood issues and even depression. This seriously alters the quality of life, which, in turn, affects every other thing in life.

Maintain Healthy Oral Habits

Above, we’ve outlined the main possible health concerns that can arise from neglecting your oral hygiene. However, the goal of maintaining proper oral health is not to have a sterile mouth. Instead, the trick is to prevent infections and pathogens from taking over the healthy bacteria that are part of the digestive system and the mouth (the first part of the digestive tract).

Ensuring your mouth health is vital for keeping your overall health in good condition, and you should never neglect this. Avoid stress as much as possible, and try not to grind your teeth. Grinding the teeth causes a severe damage to the teeth and gums, and if you have a problem with it, ask your dentist to provide you with a mouth guard.

Tips for Good Oral Hygiene

The text above may seem scary, but we can’t emphasize enough the need to maintain good oral hygiene. Thus, here we’ve gathered a list of tips that can help you organize yourself and devote better attention to your overall oral health:

  • Brush your teeth to remove food residue and unhealthy bacteria from around the teeth
  • Floss to clean the space between the teeth
  • Clean the tongue to remove food residue and smell-causing bacteria
  • Tend to eat a healthy, balanced diet to maintain a good gut health
  • Get regular visits to the dentist to follow the condition of your teeth

The Bottom Line: Take Care of Your Teeth

We only get one set of permanent teeth, and we should take care of them. Also, you now know all the possible issues that can arise from poor dental hygiene and neglecting your teeth and gums. To protect your oral health, you should maintain consistent teeth brushing habits followed by bi-yearly visits to your dentist. If you have any doubts or concerns, ask them if they use an intraoral scanner like Great, which can detect possible cavities or other surface damage of the teeth enamel; you can prevent a serious problem before it happens.

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