Medical Conditions Linked to Poor Dental Hygiene

woman taking diabetes blood sugar levels

Protecting Your Oral & Overall Health

Each major organ, muscle, and connective tissue in our body is linked in one way or another — meaning that a condition that affects one area can affect another.

Keep reading to learn why taking care of your oral health can help reduce your risks of a medical condition, or could even help you spot the warning signs of one.

Heart Disease

Gum disease is caused by bacteria, and this same bacteria can spread through your bloodstream towards your heart. Your arteries can then build up plaque, causing blockages and blood flow issues. Over time, patients are at risk for developing hypertension and even strokes.

Pregnancy Complications

During pregnancy, hormonal changes can cause women to be more prone to oral infections, such as gingivitis. This infection can spread throughout the body and has been known to cause premature birth and lower birth weights.


Diabetics don’t just have their blood sugar to worry about — as their condition can cause a slew of other conditions. Patients with diabetes are more susceptible to gum infections that can lead to periodontal disease. On the other hand, gum disease can also lead to higher blood sugar levels, making caring for your gums and teeth vital to your health.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is cancer found in the mouth area, while oropharyngeal cancer is cancer found in the oropharynx (the throat area at the back of the mouth).

According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, chewing tobacco or snuff is associated with a 50% increase in cancer risk in the cheeks, gums, and inner surface of the lips. Several studies have also linked patients with gum disease to an increased risk of oral cancer. This is why taking proper care of your smile is essential not just to your dental health but also to your overall health.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Our mouth plays host to over 700 different types of bacteria, many of which can harm our dental health and lead to gum disease or tooth loss. In a recent study by NIA scientists, it was suggested that the bacteria that cause gum disease may also be associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias — especially vascular dementia.


How? Gum disease caused by poor dental hygiene and other risk factors can lead to bleeding and swollen gums over time, eventually worsening to periodontal disease. At this stage, a patient risks gum recession and tooth loss if not treated. This leaves them vulnerable to bacteria and other inflammatory molecules in their mouth traveling through the bloodstream, ultimately leading to the brain.

Gum Disease & Older Adults

The study also found that patients 65 years or older with signs of gum disease and mouth diseases were more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Just like taking care of your overall well-being, taking care of your oral health is vital as you age to prevent serious diseases and conditions.

Some signs of gum disease that you should be mindful of include:

  • Swollen, red, or sensitive gums.
  • Chronic bad breath.
  • Visible pus between your teeth.
  • Teeth beginning to loosen.

Book Your Next Dental Cleaning Today

While some illnesses are caused by poor oral hygiene, others can be spotted because of worsening conditions in your mouth. You should visit your dentist frequently for cleanings and keep up with your dental hygiene routine at home to prevent gingivitis and other conditions that could be detrimental to your health.

To book your next dental cleaning and check-up, contact our team at Frisco's Dentists today: (972) 200-0656

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