Connection Between Oral Hygiene & Overall Health

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You probably know that poor dental health can lead to cavities and gingivitis, but are you aware that health issues in other parts of your body can arise as a result of poor oral care? Many people understand that oral health is important, but most people do not know that it’s also connected to your overall health.

Oral Health Affects Your Overall Health

More than 120 medical conditions show symptoms in the mouth that can be detected by dentists in their early stages. Symptoms such as bad breath, bleeding gums, and dry mouth are warning signs of not only oral diseases but also of other health conditions. It’s no wonder that people with periodontal (gum) disease are 40% more likely to have another health condition than those without the disease.

Having bacteria in your mouth is normal and healthy. But if this level of bacteria isn’t maintained with daily brushing and flossing, the buildup could cause inflammation in not just your mouth but in other parts of the body as well. Recent studies indicate a relationship between the excessive bacteria that causes periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and preterm birth.

Cardiovascular Disease

Research has shown that those suffering from gum disease are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those without it. Strokes, clogged arteries, and heart disease have been found to have a possible connection with oral inflammation and infections.


Experts have discovered that diabetics have a higher risk of developing gum disease than those who don’t have diabetes. It’s also been found that gum disease may make it harder to keep diabetes under control. In fact, infection and inflammation in the oral cavity can have a major affect on blood sugar, which isn’t good news for a diabetic.


Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause women to experience various dental problems. If left untreated, these minor issues can lead to bigger problems such as periodontal disease. There has also been a link found between oral health and preterm birth. Oral conditions like gum disease take a toll on the whole body and can cause a woman to give birth prematurely. If you notice any oral changes during your pregnancy, reach out to your dentist for help.

As you can see, proper oral care isn’t just important in keeping your mouth healthy. There’s no doubt that there’s a connection between oral health and overall health, so make sure you are maintaining proper oral hygiene.

To learn more about Grand Rapids dentist Dr. Kent Wildern and the services we offer, please contact us here or call us at (616) 364-8716. Kent Wildern DDS and his dental team strive to be the very best at providing our patients with optimal care while making them feel right at home.