How Dental Health Impacts Your Overall Health

It's a common misconception that failing to take care of your teeth will only lead to issues with your smile. While you may lose teeth or develop discoloration from a lack of care, you'll also experience health issues in the rest of your body. This is because your mouth is full of veins that connect the blood supply in your gums and jaw bones to the rest of the body. Infection and toxins can quickly spread from the mouth directly to the heart, brain, and more. Taking care of your teeth and gums is part of taking care of your health in general. Learn what conditions in particular can be triggered or worsened by issues with your dental health.


There is a chance that having poor oral hygiene while undergoing a period of low immunity could lead to pneumonia. This is an infection deep in the lungs that can become life-threatening without proper care. The transmission occurs because the bacteria in your mouth can easily transfer into the lungs when you inhale tiny particles of your own saliva. Keeping your oral hygiene up is the key to reducing bacteria levels so your mouth and lungs stay healthy together.

Heart Health

The connection between dental health and heart conditions has been explored more extensively in the past few decades. Numerous studies have revealed that infections of the lining of the heart can occur when bacteria travel from the mouth via the bloodstream. Gingivitis and more severe types of gum disease are linked to inflammation and direct infection of the heart. Other research indicates they may also increase the chance of developing heart disease and atherosclerosis in the arteries. Good heart health begins with brushing three times a day and flossing once.

Birth and Pregnancy Complications

A healthy pregnancy relies on good oral health. Active infections in the mouth can lead to infections in the placenta or amniotic sac. Pregnancy itself also puts stress on the teeth due to the baby's demand for calcium to support growth, so you may need extra care from your dentist during that time. Oral health issues have been linked to lower birth weights, so don't neglect your smile when planning for your pregnancy. A dental wellness plan is a great way to stay protected.


There is research showing issues with blood sugar regulation among people with gum disease. While bacteria can't cause diabetes, there may be a link between gingivitis and the development of the disease. Diabetes definitely affects your oral health because it reduces your resistance to infection in the tooth roots and gum tissue. Keeping your blood sugar under control is easier when you don't have gum disease, so taking care of your teeth can help whether you ever develop diabetes or not.

Sexual Function

Gum disease and other infections in the mouth can even affect your sexual health. Erectile dysfunction has been linked to chronic periodontitis in particular. In this form of gum disease, bacteria move into pockets of gum tissue around the roots of the teeth and return even after treatment. It's suspected to cause issues with ED due to its negative effects on blood flow and blood pressure. More extensive treatment like root planing and scaling is the key to ending the infection cycle and restoring your sexual function again. While there is less research into how gum disease affects the sexual health of women, it's likely there are similar negative effects due to interference with blood flow.

Cancer Risks

Research from Johns Hopkins Medicine has noted a link between gum disease and many forms of cancer. You may raise your risk of cancer by almost 25% by having untreated gum disease. While keeping your mouth healthy won't guarantee you'll never experience cancer, it's an important step in protecting yourself in the long run. If you avoid smoking and eating certain foods because of the increased risks of cancer, you'll want to make sure you'll also brushing and flossing.

Chance of Stroke

The same reactions that lead to your body developing heart issues in response to oral health issues can also lead to an increased stroke risk. The stroke may occur even after you've gotten dental treatment if the issue is severe gum disease or a badly decayed tooth. It's best to stay on top of your dental health throughout your life so infections don't go untreated and cause damage to blood vessels. Issues with blood flow can worsen existing stroke risks, so see your dentist at the first sign of gum disease. Early treatment reduces the long-term effects of any infection that might occur.

There is less evidence, but it's also possible that poor oral health contributes to depression, arthritis, and even swelling in the face. Take good care of your entire body starting with the mouth by visiting us here at Las Cruces Dental Solutions. We can explain how caring for your smile affects your entire body and determine what path to take to feel better. Schedule an appointment with our team today to start a journey towards lifelong health.

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