How Poor Dental Care Can Affect Your Overall Health

Father and son brushing teeth together. posted by Dr. Beau Beecher, DDS on 3/14/2024 in General

Unsurprisingly, poor dental hygiene can lead to many tooth-related problems, like cavities and periodontal diseases. In addition to these issues, bad dental hygiene can negatively impact your overall health. 

Learn some health risks that can result from bad dental hygiene—and how to fix it.

3 Health Risks Related to Poor Oral Hygiene 

Bad dental hygiene is linked to various health issues. If you have a chronic health condition, you may be more susceptible to developing oral health issues like periodontal disease. It’s a vicious cycle, which is why it’s important to take good care of your teeth. 

  1. Cardiovascular issues. Some research has found that inflammation from oral infections, like periodontal disease, is linked to cardiovascular issues. While the connection isn’t fully understood, it is assumed that this bacteria enters your bloodstream and travels to the arteries in your heart, leading to plaque buildup, which can decrease or block blood flow through the body. This increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke. Poor oral health is also linked to endocarditis, which is an infection/inflammation in the inner lining of the heart valves and chambers.
  2. Pneumonia and lung infections. Poor oral hygiene can lead to a buildup of the bacteria that causes oral infections, like gum disease. As we breathe through our mouths, we naturally inhale the bacteria inside of them. When we inhale this harmful bacteria for an extended period, it could lead to lung infections and even pneumonia. 
  3. Diabetes. Poor oral hygiene can cause periodontal disease, which can make it difficult to manage your blood sugar. This is especially important if you have diabetes, as periodontal disease can worsen your symptoms. People who have diabetes are also more likely to develop periodontal disease, tooth decay, and gum disease. Whether you have diabetes or not, taking care of your oral hygiene can help regulate your blood sugar. 

Bad dental hygiene is also linked to other health issues like oral cancer and other types of cancer, complications during pregnancy and birth, immunity, and more. 

How to Improve Your Oral Hygiene 

Bad oral care can cause irreversible damage. While you may not be able to reverse some of the damage, taking proper care of your teeth is a great place to start. Incorporate these healthy habits to support good dental health. These habits can help kill or control harmful bacteria that would leave you susceptible to the serious health issues above. 

  • Start an oral care routine. Regular brushing and flossing keep your teeth clean and healthy. Brush your teeth using the proper technique, twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Ensure your toothbrush has soft bristles to prevent wear and tear on your enamel and gums. Floss at least once a day and never go to sleep without brushing your teeth. 
  • See your dentist regularly. Everyone should go to the dentist for routine cleanings and checkups—it’s recommended to go every six months. During your preventive care appointment at Kimball & Beecher, you will receive a free oral cancer screening & periodontal disease evaluation. Additional preventive measures may be recommended such as sealants or a fluoride treatment. If you have diseased teeth, you may need to get fillings, extractions, or cosmetic dental procedures

It’s always smart to follow your dentist’s recommendations and don’t procrastinate important procedures or routine cleanings—this can increase your risk of or worsen things like cavities and gum disease

  • Watch what you consume. The things we consume have a direct impact on our oral health and overall health. You will want to cut out tobacco products, like chew, dip, and cigarettes, for example. Eat a well-balanced diet with fresh fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water. Limit acidic and sugary foods, like soda, alcohol, and candy. 

Protect Your Health—Schedule an Appointment With a Kimball & Beecher Dentist

Part of taking good care of your teeth is going to the dentist regularly. Take the next step in improving your health by contacting us at any of our locations or scheduling an appointment online with a Kimball & Beecher dentist today.

About The Author

Dr. Beau Beecher, DDS

Dr. Beau Beecher is the founder and CEO, of Kimball and Beecher Family Dentistry. Kimball and Beecher Family Dentistry is known for being a patient-centered practice that puts comfort and convenience first. Over 50,000 patients in Iowa cities travel miles to experience the high level of ... read more

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