How Poor Oral Hygiene Can Affect Your Body

heart healthDeveloping a strong routine of caring for your teeth, gums, and mouth at least twice daily is essential for proper oral health. But did you know that strong oral health can also have a positive impact on your body’s overall health as well? Here is a look at how poor dental and oral hygiene can lead to various health problems throughout the body.

Cardiovascular disease

Many don’t suspect cardiovascular disease, or heart disease, to be linked with oral hygiene. However, when your mouth is host to gum inflammation or periodontal disease, that bacteria from that inflammation can actually enter your bloodstream and travel to your heart. This can cause the inner lining of the heart to become infected and inflamed—a condition known as endocarditis. That bacteria can also cause plaque build-up along the walls of the arteries, leading to atherosclerosis. This can restrict or even block blood flow in the body, putting you at a higher risk for having a stroke or heart attack.

Worsened diabetes symptoms

Many are aware of the oral health risks that diabetes poses—gum infection, tooth loss, and dry mouth, for example—but fewer are aware that poor oral hygiene can actually have an effect on diabetes symptoms. Inflamed gum tissue and periodontal disease, for example, can make it more difficult for your body to regulate blood sugar, which in turn can heighten diabetes symptoms.

Respiratory diseases

While research is still ongoing, many believe that there might be a connection between oral bacteria and the development of certain respiratory diseases. Why? It’s possible that bacteria from gum disease might travel through the airstream and into the lungs, over a period of time leading to the development of serious respiratory diseases like pneumonia.

Birth complications

The hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy can put a woman at higher risk for developing periodontal disease. And while many factors come together to influence a baby’s overall health at birth, researchers are beginning to explore the effects that periodontal disease might have. Some believe that periodontal disease in a pregnant woman can lead to a baby being born prematurely, or at a low birth weight. Premature birth and low birth weight can in turn lead to additional issues such as heart or lung problems and learning disorders.