Shyn ⏐ 6 Medical Conditions Linked to Poor Oral Health

Your Shopping Cart

Your cart looks a little empty!

Continue Shopping

Your Shopping Cart

It appears that your cart is currently empty!


6 Serious Medical Conditions Linked to Poor Oral Health

Inadequate oral hygiene, such as not brushing and flossing your teeth regularly, can lead to cavities, gingivitis and periodontal disease. But did you know that it can also affect your overall health? From heart disease to complications affecting pregnancy, here are six serious health problems that have been linked to neglecting your oral care.

Heart Disease

According to Harvard Medical School, people with gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) have two to three times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular event. Though the exact relationship between gum disease and heart disease is still being researched, some evidence suggests that clogged arteries and strokes might be linked to inflammation and infections that are caused by oral bacteria making its way into the bloodstream.

Endocarditis is a much rarer disease afflicting the heart. Poor dental health can increase the risk especially in patients with damage to the heart tissue. It is caused when bacteria or fungi enter the body through infection or when normally harmless bacteria of the mouth attacks damaged heart valves. A disease such as gingivitis or periodontal disease causes a build-up of this bacteria.

Pregnancy Complications

According to the Mayo Clinic, Periodontitis has also been linked to premature birth and low birth weight. In addition, any infection in a mother’s body, including oral infections, increases her risk of experiencing pregnancy complications. Since hormonal changes in the body due to pregnancy can also cause oral infections, expecting mothers must be diligent about their oral hygiene.

There is also a link between poor oral health and infertility issues. According to researchers in Western Australia, women of childbearing age with gum disease took an average of just over seven months to become pregnant – two months longer than the average of five months that it took women without gum disease to conceive. Gum disease has also been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage.


Some research, including the University of Kentucky Nun Study, suggests a link between poor oral health and an increased risk of dementia, a decline in mental health ability that affects daily life. The Nun Study is an ongoing research project centered on mental health. During a study of 118 nuns between the ages of 75 and 98, researchers found that those with the fewest teeth were most likely to suffer dementia.

Researchers think the oral bacteria may spread to the brain through cranial nerves that connect through the jaw or through the bloodstream. This bacteria may be connected somehow with the type of plaque that has been linked to Alzheimer’s Disease.

Respiratory Infection

According to the Journal of Periodontology, gum disease may increase your risk of getting respiratory infections, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia. The infections might be caused when bacteria from the mouth are inhaled into the lungs, causing airways to become inflamed. Respiratory infections affect the ability to breathe and, in some cases, can be fatal.

Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease is a serious health problem that affects the kidneys, heart, bones, and blood pressure and it has also been linked to oral health. Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studied more than 5,500 participants, about half of whom had normal to severe periodontal disease. They found that participants with gum disease were much more likely to have renal insufficiency, which is a chronic condition that results in weaker kidney function and can eventually lead to renal failure. Renal failure is very serious, and means that the kidneys no longer work well enough for someone to survive without dialysis or a kidney transplant.


Although it is generally well known that poor oral health practices such as smoking or tobacco use can lead to oral and throat cancer, research is beginning to show that other cancers may be linked to oral health. The risk for kidney, pancreatic and blood cancers are much higher for people with poor oral health, though experts aren’t currently sure of the exact reason why.

Lower Your Risk

Although other factors contribute to the risk of developing these medical conditions, practicing good hygiene is one way to help lower your risk. Prevent gingivitis, which leads to periodontal disease, by:

1. Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, using a soft bristle toothbrush;
2. Floss twice daily;
3. Replace your toothbrush every three to four months;
4. Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings.

    If your dentist says your gums are at risk, ask for a brushing and flossing demonstration to ensure you’re using the correct method. You have the power to keep your smile healthy and protect your overall health. If this article helped you, be sure to share it with your friends and family so that they can lower their risk and protect their oral health.