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Brushing Teeth

Oral Health is Linked to Overall Health

When we say to brush and floss twice a day, it’s not just to keep your mouth healthy and clean. The link between your oral and overall health is scientifically proven and reinforced regularly with newer studies—links beyond simple tobacco use, which we all know is bad for you. From your mental health to your heart health, read on to learn a few ways your body can be affected by poor oral hygiene.

Cardiovascular disease

It may be hard to believe, but your heart is only as strong as your gums. When gums become inflamed or infected with bacteria, that bacteria can enter the bloodstream and travel straight to your ticker. Once it reaches the heart, a variety of things can happen. The build-up sticks to the walls of the arteries and hardens. This hardening causes blood flow issues and can even lead to complete blockages, putting you at significant risk of a heart attack. Bacteria can also infiltrate the heart’s lining and cause you to develop Endocarditis, a frequently fatal infection. There are many other cardiovascular diseases and conditions that are affected or started by poor oral hygiene, but some of these effects are yet to be explained by science.

Respiratory Infections

If bacteria can travel to the heart, they can travel to the lungs. While it can find its way there through the bloodstream as it does for heart disease, bacteria can also be inhaled. There’s a lower risk of severe infections if you have healthy lungs, but if your body’s defenses are down, your lungs won’t be able to protect themselves. You become susceptible to pneumonia, bronchitis, and even COPD. Especially with certain viruses, it’s vital to stay on top of your oral health.

Pregnancy and Birth Complications

When a person is pregnant, their hormones are raging, adding stress to your system and contributing to higher chances of oral infections. Gum disease, in particular, has been linked to premature or low-weight births. When one part of your body is under stress, your entire body is also stressed. And if that body happens to be pregnant, then the baby is also under stress. And if you aren’t pregnant but are trying, your oral hygiene might be partially to blame. Research has found that fertility struggles are much more common in both men and women who have poor oral health.

Mental Health

Have you ever had a nasty toothache? It’s all you can focus on. It makes you irritable, depressed, even. Often we have too much anxiety about going to the dentist to get it fixed. Next comes decreased appetite and energy, and one is more likely to turn to substance use to cope. The effects of poor oral hygiene on your mental health are endless. This is especially true if you have already experienced a mental health disorder. If this sounds like you or someone you know, it’s important to find a nonjudgmental dentist who shows care through compassion. This will help lower their fear of being at the dentist and cure the toothache.


There’s a reason Dr. Sara Riechers named her practice Compassionate Dentistry. No matter what service you come in for or the malady you develop over time, Dr. Sara will work with you to find a preventative routine and effective treatment for whatever oral issues you may be experiencing. She and her team have made it their mission to take the fear out of going to the dentist. Seeing a dentist regularly is one of the main ways to avoid diseases like those listed above. To schedule an appointment, call Compassionate Dentistry or visit our website and see what it’s like to live without fear.