4 Surprising Ways Poor Oral Care Affects Your Health

Dental Hygiene - Couple Brushing Teeth

Dental hygiene is something that should not be overlooked because poor oral care can cause more than just problems in your mouth.

Neglecting to brush, floss and pay regular visits to the dentist has been linked to many health issues, including heart disease, lung infections and mental health problems like low self-confidence and depression.

It’s not always the obvious health and fitness issues that need to be addressed!

Here are four ways how neglecting your dental care can affect your overall health.

1. Heart Disease

The main cause of gum disease is thought to be poor oral hygiene leading to a buildup of plaque and bacteria, which eventually infects the gums leading to inflammation.

Man having a heart attack

Heart disease can strike at all ages

It is thought that this bacteria gets into the bloodstream and can lead to blood clots and heart disease over long periods of time.

Fortunately, brushing your teeth can effectively prevent and treat gum disease, and there are a number of great dental products to improve your oral hygiene. These include dental floss, fluoride toothpaste, mouthwash and inter-dental toothbrushes.

2. Respiratory Infections

Bacterial chest infections can occur as a result of poor oral hygiene. This is because the bacteria from gum disease and other dental issues will enter the lungs.

This can then cause chest infections like pneumonia or make existing lung conditions worse. Again, this can be prevented by maintaining good dental hygiene habits and looking after your oral health by brushing and flossing regularly and attending regular visits with your dentist.

This is especially important for people who are elderly, frail or have a lower immune system, as they are more likely to suffer serious complications if they get chest infections like pneumonia.

How often should you go the dentist?

It really depends on you and your dental health history, but at least once a year. Regular check-ups ensure that any issues are caught early and resolved before they manifest as more serious conditions.

Dentist explaining tooth brushing

Get a dental check-up every year

3. Birthing Problems

Hormonal changes in pregnancy mean that women are more susceptible to a buildup of plaque and gum disease – this is known as pregnancy gingivitis.

According to the NHS, women with gum disease are at an increased risk of going into premature labour. It could also result in the baby having a low birth weight if they are affected during pregnancy.

Pregnant women should, therefore, take extra care with their oral hygiene and seek advice from their dentist on healthy dental habits to follow during pregnancy. Fortunately, dental treatment is free during pregnancy and until one year after your due date.

4. Diabetes Complications

If you have diabetes, then gum disease and inflammation can make it harder to control your blood sugar levels and put you at risk of diabetes complications.

People with diabetes should take extra care when it comes to their dental health and visit their dentist immediately if they notice any signs of gum disease. This includes – red or swollen gums, bleeding when brushing your teeth or flossing, loose teeth and bad breath. If you think that you may have gum disease, then speak to your dentist to get advice and arrange treatment.

Remember that good dental hygiene affects more than just your mouth. Help keep your oral and overall health in top condition by brushing and flossing regularly, maintaining good dental habits and visiting your dentist every six months for an oral checkup.

In addition, it’s important to stay on top of your health in general. By doing so your body will be strong and able to deal with any health issues much more effectively than if you are in poor physical health to start with.

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