10 Health Problems That Can Arise from Bad Oral Health

Oral health primarily involves your teeth, gums, and mouth. But did you know that poor oral health presents several negative consequences for the whole body? Aching teeth, bleeding gums, and foul breath are signs of poor oral health. What’s worse is that bacteria from your mouth may enter the bloodstream, causing inflammation and infection wherever it spreads.

It is crucial to practice good oral hygiene and make routine visits to your Southern California dentist to avoid serious risks to your overall health. If not, here are ten health problems that can result from bad oral health.

1. Cardiovascular Disease

Poor oral hygiene leads to poor oral health, which then puts you at risk for – believe it or not – heart disease. The bacteria that cause gum (periodontal) disease can enter the bloodstream, causing a build-up of plaque in the arteries. Over time, plaque hardens. This hardening in the arteries is called atherosclerosis, and it is a dangerous disease.

Atherosclerosis causes blood flow problems and heart blockages, which increase your chances of having a heart attack. The damaging impact on the blood vessels and arteries can likewise cause hypertension (high blood pressure), leading to a stroke. In rare cases, a fatal condition called endocarditis can develop and infect the lining of the heart.

2. Respiratory Infections

Bacteria in your mouth from an infected tooth or swollen gums can travel through your bloodstream to the lungs. Once there, it can cause respiratory infections, acute bronchitis, pneumonia, and <a href=”https://journal.copdfoundation.org/jcopdf/id/1185/Markers-of-Dental-Health-Correlate-with-Daily-Respiratory-Symptoms-in-COPD” target=”_blank” rel=”ext” chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

3. Diabetes

Adults and children with diabetes are already susceptible to infection that leads to periodontal disease, but periodontal disease can, however, make diabetes more difficult to manage. Symptoms may worsen as your blood sugar levels spike or go haywire due to gum disease.

If you have diabetes, it is especially imperative to take excellent care of your oral health to prevent complications with your disease. Conversely, because gum disease can elevate blood sugar levels, a person with poor oral health has a heightened risk for diabetes.

4. Infertility Among Women

According to Medical News Today, there is a connection between poor oral health and infertility in women. Gum disease is the alleged culprit, which can cause a myriad of health issues that make it challenging for a woman to conceive and maintain a healthy pregnancy. Furthermore, a woman with poor oral health may take longer to get pregnant compared to someone who has good dental health.

5. Pregnancy Complications

During pregnancy, the inevitable hormonal changes in a woman’s body can cause oral infections to occur more quickly. Therefore, it is essential for expectant mothers to practice good oral hygiene. Any infection in her body increases the risk of experiencing pregnancy complications. Oral health issues in the mother, including gingivitis and periodontitis, have been shown to cause premature low-weight in infants.

6. Erectile Dysfunction Among Men

Poor oral health increases a man’s risk of erectile dysfunction – the inability to get or maintain an erection firm enough to have intercourse. Chronic periodontal disease is a serious infection in which gums pull away from the teeth, leaving pockets that carry bacteria. Bacteria from diseased gums can enter the bloodstream and cause blood vessels to become inflamed. This inflammation can obstruct blood flow to the genitals, making erections difficult or even impossible to achieve.

7. Malignant Diseases

Poor oral health practices, the most prevalent being smoking or using tobacco products, can lead to oral and throat cancers. However, several other cancer types have been linked to periodontal disease, including cancer of the pancreas, kidney, and blood.

8. Kidney Disease

Research revealed that a strong connection exists between periodontal disease and kidney disease. Chronic kidney disease affects more than your bean-shaped organs; it also impacts your heart, bones, and blood pressure. Kidney disease has life-threatening complications, including kidney failure and cardiovascular conditions.

9. Rheumatoid Arthritis

According to the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, individuals with gum disease are four times more prone to having a chronic progressive disease called rheumatoid arthritis. These diseases have inflammation in common. The bacteria from gum disease can aggravate inflammation throughout the body, which, in turn, makes the likelihood of developing rheumatoid arthritis much higher.

10. Dementia

Did you know that poor oral health can affect your brain? Bacteria and substances from infected gums can kill brain cells and cause memory loss. Dementia, and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease, can result from gingivitis when bacteria in your mouth spread to the nerve channels or penetrate the bloodstream.

How to Prevent Health Issues from Bad Oral Health

The best way to prevent serious health problems caused by poor oral health is to practice good oral hygiene and, of course, schedule regular visits to your dentist.

To ensure your oral health is bacteria-free:

  • Brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day.
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day.
  • Use toothpaste and mouthwash that contains fluoride.
  • Stop smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco products.
  • Limit your consumption of sugary foods and drinks.
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet for optimum nutrition.

Remember, healthy teeth are clean and free of decay and disease. Likewise, healthy gums are pink, pain-free, and do not bleed when brushing or flossing.

Oral health is an indicator of overall health. Taking care of your teeth, gums, and mouth to avoid oral health problems, especially gum disease, goes a long way toward reducing your risk for alarming health issues throughout the body.

To learn more about how to take care of your teeth and gums, please read 10 Oral Hygiene Mistakes to Correct – or Else! and 9 Steps to Achieving Healthy Teeth and Gums All Year Long.

About Cunning Dental

Cunning Dental started in Montclair, California over 51 years ago with a single office and has been delivering industry-leading dental care to our communities ever since. Now with three offices and growing, we remain dedicated to providing quality dental care and patient education while offering a comfortable experience for your entire family. Contact us now to schedule your dental appointment.


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