Studies have demonstrated the relationship between poor oral health and other physical ailments such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and more. Studies have linked poor oral hygiene with higher rates of diabetes, heart disease and stroke as well.

Why it matters: Brush and floss daily, visit your dentist regularly and eat a balanced diet are all important elements to ensuring good oral health.

Tooth Decay

Oral health was often treated as secondary in the health industry; however, recent evidence shows that poor dental health can have far reaching ramifications on overall body health. Studies have demonstrated how problems related to your mouth and teeth may contribute to diseases like gum disease, tooth decay and even heart disease; such issues often stemming from poor diet choices, lack of dental hygiene and lifestyle factors.

Tooth decay is an increasingly serious and progressive dental condition caused by plaque build-up on teeth. Plaque contains bacteria which produce acids which wear down tooth enamel and cause dentin to disintegrate over time, leaving the tooth vulnerable to decay – this process is known as demineralization; every day however, minerals such as calcium and phosphate are replenished through food consumption or water, providing some remineralization; however if demineralization happens without enough replenishing through water consumption or food ingestion to counter it then cavities will form and decay and form over time, leaving the tooth vulnerable and vulnerable.

One of the primary causes of tooth decay is eating too many sugary and starchy foods, particularly sweets that feed bacteria living on your plaque and that cling to your teeth for long periods. This gives these microbes fuel to produce acids that wear away enamel and cause cavities; frequent snacking or sipping sweet beverages throughout the day gives these microbes another opportunity to attack your enamel and lead to cavities.

Preventing tooth decay is possible through healthy lifestyle choices and dental habits, including brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice per day for two minutes, flossing once daily, using rinses/mouthwashes containing fluoride to strengthen enamel, and drinking acid-reducing beverages like tea/coffee/tea/juices that contain fluoride. Dr. Jerry Mulder DDS specializes in cosmetic dentistry so he will recommend sealants – thin plastic coatings applied over chewing surfaces of back teeth which protect from decay.

Gum Disease

Allowing gum disease to progress to its more serious stages can result in tooth loss and bone deterioration, as well as spreading bacteria to other parts of the body via the bloodstream. Thus, early intervention and maintaining good oral hygiene practices is crucial in order to avoid serious health concerns in later years.

Bad breath (halitosis) is another telltale sign of poor dental health, caused by food particles lodged between teeth that collect bacteria, emit hydrogen sulfide gasses and then create the distinctive smell associated with rotten eggs. Not only is halitosis embarrassing but it can also interfere with eating and speaking as it reduces saliva production.

The mouth is an entryway for bacteria into our bodies that can have serious repercussions if left neglected. Gum disease increases one’s risk of heart disease due to bleeding wounds in gums that allow bacteria to enter bloodstream and travel throughout body systems causing infections or inflammations.

Poor dental health has also been linked with diabetes, respiratory illnesses and dementia. Studies have linked gum disease with dementia because its bacteria enter the bloodstream and reach the brain, where they trigger immune reactions that destroy neurons leading to memory loss and Alzheimer’s.

Gum disease may also contribute to respiratory ailments by infiltrating bacteria into the lungs and triggering inflammation, aggravating existing respiratory conditions like asthma or rheumatoid arthritis.

Gum disease can contribute to infertility by decreasing estrogen and progesterone production in women, making it harder to conceive. Furthermore, poor dental health increases premature birth risk as well as low birth weight risks for babies being born to mothers suffering gum disease. But poor dental hygiene can be prevented through regular brushing, flossing and dental cleaning visits as well as by refraining from smoking and using sugary beverages and foods that increase the likelihood of tooth decay and gum disease.

Heart Disease

The mouth is an entryway for bacteria, viruses and fungi that can negatively impact our overall health. While some might associate poor oral hygiene only with sore teeth and bad breath, poor dental health has the potential to lead to heart disease, diabetes, stroke and pregnancy complications; good oral hygiene combined with balanced eating practices is crucial in protecting ourselves against such illnesses.

Bacteria from the mouth can travel through the bloodstream to other parts of the body if gum disease or dental infection go untreated, according to studies. Oral bacteria could even infiltrate cardiovascular system arteries and contribute to atherosclerosis which clogs them, potentially leading to heart attack or stroke.

Bacteria may enter the bloodstream and attach themselves to areas inside of the heart, leading to endocarditis infection – a potentially life-threatening infection which destroys its inner lining, chambers and valves if left untreated immediately.

Studies demonstrate a direct relationship between periodontal disease and cardiovascular illness, including heart attacks and strokes, such as having periodontal disease. People living with this condition are twice as likely to contract cardiovascular conditions due to bacteria from their mouth entering the bloodstream and depositing plaque that contains substances which promote clotting and reduce blood flow.

Furthermore, bacteria from your mouth can travel to your brain and infiltrate nerve tissue, potentially leading to stroke. People who have had strokes are more prone to dementia and Alzheimer’s than other organs due to its delicate tissues encasing it – making the brain particularly susceptible.

Oral conditions like tooth decay and gum disease are generally preventable with sufficient exposure to fluoride, toothbrush use and flossing techniques, and eating a diet low in sugar. Unfortunately, most low and middle income countries lack sufficient resources to address or prevent oral diseases which contribute to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) like cancer, HIV infection, cardiovascular illness and obesity.


Your oral health affects much more than just your teeth and gums; it has an immense bearing on overall health, medical costs and quality of life.

Oral bacteria can travel throughout your body and lead to serious health problems. Studies have linked poor oral hygiene with heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s and other serious medical conditions.

Bacteria that accumulate in your mouth can quickly spread throughout your body, leading to inflammation and infection elsewhere in your system. When they enter your bloodstream they travel throughout your organs including your brain; should they reach carotid arteries delivering oxygen and nutrients directly into it they may even lead to strokes!

Strokes are medical emergencies and require prompt care and treatment, otherwise they could prove fatal. Stroke may be caused by any number of factors; one common culprit is insufficient blood flow to the brain; poor dental health may narrow arteries due to gum disease or plaque buildup which increases your risk for stroke.

Oral infections can have severe repercussions for cognitive functioning. A study published in Neurology concluded that individuals with poor oral health were more likely to experience dementia and memory loss due to an increased risk of periodontal disease.

As it stands, there are various strategies you can employ to both increase the health of your oral environment and decrease your risk for serious diseases. Brushing for two minutes daily and flossing once every day can help avoid tooth decay, gum disease and other issues; regular visits to your dentist for cleanings and screenings is also vital; be sure to notify him or her of any health conditions, such as Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or osteoporosis for example.

Years ago, it was thought that oral health had no bearing on overall wellness; however, recent research indicates otherwise. Good oral health plays a vital role in overall wellness.