9 Common Health Issues Caused by Poor Oral Hygiene

Poor oral hygiene has serious consequences for the mouth including gum disease, rotten breath, yellow teeth, cavities, and even dying teeth. 

But did you know that there are other health problems caused by bad teeth? An unhealthy mouth can lead to serious and even deadly problems from your head to your toes.

Read on for the 9 common health issues that caused by poor oral hygiene.

1. Poor Oral Hygiene Can Affect Your Heart

The same bacteria that cause gum disease can leak into the bloodstream. Once the bacteria have reached the bloodstream, it can cause the arteries and veins to harden with plaque (a condition called atherosclerosis). 

Those hardened sections can lead to blockages and increase a person’s risk for heart attack, as well as other heart diseases.

Other associated risks of this bacteria include endocarditis (an infection in the lining of the heart), hypertension (high blood pressure), and an increased risk of strokes.

2. Lungs

The respiratory system is also at risk when you ignore your oral hygiene.

The bacteria found in rotting teeth and swollen gums can spread to the lungs as you breathe, causing serious respiratory infections. Some cases include acute bronchitis, pneumonia, and COPD (an inability to get enough breath).

Regular dental and periodontal exams can prevent the growth of the harmful bacteria that lead to these serious conditions.

3. Sexual Health

As mentioned in the first section, bacteria can travel from the mouth and into the bloodstream causing damage to the veins and arteries. 

The bacteria can cause inflammation and blockages that prevent blood from flowing to certain parts of the body, including the genitals.

There’s also a link between erectile dysfunction and poor oral health. In simple terms, bad oral health can prevent you from getting or keeping an erection. This can put a serious damper on your romantic life. 

4. The Brain

The next victims of harmful oral bacteria are brain cells, accessed through the bloodstream or nerve channels.

Research has linked the loss of crucial brain cells from gum disease to dementia. 

There are even suspicions that gingivitis might have a connection to Alzheimer’s disease.

Be sure to maintain regular daily oral habits like brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash. But additionally, you should be visiting the dentist for a cleaning at least annually.

5. Arthritis

Gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis have an undeniable link. Research has shown that the presence and severity of the periodontal disease is a reliable predictor for the severity of rheumatoid arthritis.

Most believe that the harmful bacteria that thrive in the mouths of patients with poor hygiene can lead to weakened joints and bone loss.

One study showed that people with RA that received non-surgical treatment for their gum disease showed an improvement in symptoms related to their arthritis.

6. Cancer

Smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol are both detrimental to oral health and connected to cancer.

But there are other forms of cancer that are caused by bad oral hygiene and habits.

Recent research indicates that patients with poor oral health are at a higher risk of pancreatic cancers. There are also indicators that it’s linked to blood and kidney cancers. 

Not all pancreatic, blood, or kidney cancers are caused by poor oral hygiene.

7. Kidney Disease

Gum diseases and infections seriously weaken the immune system, making the kidneys vulnerable to infection and disease.

Strong links exist between periodontitis and kidney diseases. These conditions can lead to kidney failure and even death. 

8. Diabetes

Poor oral health can lead to a higher risk of diabetes, but it can also make the condition worse for those who already have it. That’s because one of the results of gum disease is high and fluctuating blood sugar.

Those with diabetes already struggle to control and monitor blood sugar levels, and periodontal disease makes that even more difficult.

It’s vital that patients with diabetes are extra vigilant with their oral hygiene in addition to their diet, exercise, and blood sugar monitoring.

9. Pregnancy and Infertility

During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes significant hormonal changes. These changes make her more susceptible to oral or periodontal infections.

Having an infection of this type has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight, which are both harmful to the fetus. 

Infertility also has a connection to poor oral health. Becoming pregnant often requires the mother to be in good health, and poor oral hygiene can lead to so many other health issues.

Many instances of infertility have a connection to conditions or illnesses caused by poor oral health.

If you’d like to start a family, it’s vital that you maintain excellent oral hygiene, so that you don’t inhibit your ability to conceive or have a healthy pregnancy.

Floss for Your Life!

There’s an easy way to make sure you avoid these health issues related to poor oral hygiene.

If you want a healthy mouth and a healthy body, make sure you’re following basic rules of oral hygiene.

Brush your teeth at least twice, floss, and use a mouth rinse daily. You should also visit the dentist as often as you can, but at least once a year. 

Maintaining these regular habits of oral hygiene will not only ensure you’ve got a great smile and fresh breath, but they’ll also save you a lot of trouble elsewhere in your body.

Contact us today to schedule your dental exam, cleaning, or teeth whitening. No matter your age, we’re your family dentist in Birmingham, AL. We can’t wait to assist you.