Can Bad Oral Health Get Me Sick?

Can Bad Oral Health Get Me Sick?

Poor dental hygiene doesn’t just cause cavities and gum disease. It can also make you sick.

Good oral hygiene doesn’t only keep cavities and gum disease at bay. When you practice healthy dental care habits, you also maintain your overall health and well-being. On the other hand, bad oral health can quite possibly make you very sick.

That’s because your mouth harbors many bacteria, so regularly cleaning your gums and teeth can help keep bacteria at bay. However, your mouth is a gateway to the rest of your body. If the bacteria spreads beyond the mouth, you could be setting yourself up for other health problems, such as the ones described below. The good news is that you can avoid these health issues by taking care of your gums and teeth and working with your dentist.

Health problems caused by poor oral health

Beyond the pain caused by tooth decay and gum disease, poor oral health can have a significant impact on the rest of your body. Some of the conditions linked to an unhealthy mouth include:

Heart Disease. Bacteria inflames the gums, resulting in periodontal or gum disease. But bacteria may not stay on the gums. It may travel through the bloodstream and the arteries, hardening into plaque. Plaque narrows the arteries, possibly leading to heart disease, hypertension, and strokes. Bacteria may also infect the heart’s lining, causing a severe and life-threatening condition known as endocarditis.

Respiratory Infections. The bacteria growing in your mouth can seep into your lungs and cause respiratory infections, such as pneumonia or acute bronchitis.

Diabetes. Diabetes patients already have a difficult time fighting off infections, including gum disease. Gum disease can make it harder for them to control blood sugar levels. 

Cancer. It’s no secret that tobacco can cause oral and throat cancers. But poor gum health may also raise the risk of other cancers, such as kidney, blood, and pancreatic cancer.

Pregnancy and Infertility Problems. Mothers who develop periodontitis or gingivitis, an early form of gum disease, may have an increased chance of premature birth or a low-birth-weight baby. Poor oral health may also interfere with a woman’s ability to conceive.

Erectile Dysfunction. Bacteria from the mouth can inflame the blood vessels and block blood flow to the genitals, making it harder to achieve an erection.

Rheumatoid Arthritis. Like gum disease, rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease. Bacteria can inflame the gum tissues and tissues throughout the body.

Keeping your mouth and body healthy

Now that you know why good oral care is essential for your overall health, let’s go over what you can do to keep your mouth and body healthy:

Brush & floss daily. With a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes. Get to hard-to-reach places with floss to remove bacteria and plaque. Replace your toothbrush every three to four months to prevent an infection.

Quit tobacco. Whether you smoke cigarettes or chew tobacco, quit now for the sake of your gums and teeth.

Avoid sugar. Foods and drinks containing a high sugar content mix with the bacteria in the mouth, forming an acid that wears down your tooth enamel. Weakened enamel opens the gates for tooth decay. Avoid sugar and eat a healthful, well-balanced diet.

Get regular dental checkups. As much as you take care of your teeth daily, you still need to schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings. Your dentist and hygienist can spot and treat dental problems before they become more serious.

Take care of your mouth!

Schedule an appointment at Espire’s La Mesa location today! Our highly trained dentists can check your teeth, treat decay, and teach you techniques for better oral care. Don’t live near our La Mesa, CA office? Find one of our other locations near you.

La Mesa, CA
8555 Fletcher Parkway 
Suite 102 
La Mesa, CA 91942