How Oral Hygiene Impacts Your Bodily Health

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The mouth is the first part of the digestive system, funneling nutrition to the stomach for digestion. Brushing the plaque off the teeth prevents plaque built up from irritating the gums, which can lead to serious diseases. Flossing between the teeth removes food particles that bacteria needs to multiply. Good oral hygiene is not only important to keep the teeth, gums and mouth healthy, but good dental hygiene is necessary to maintain overall healthiness. Here are a few of the many bodily diseases that can result from poor oral hygiene:

Gum Disease:

Bacteria thrives and multiplies in the mouth, thanks to saliva and our food consumption. The byproduct from bacterial multiplication is plaque, a slimy, bacterial ridden film that coats the teeth. If the plaque is not removed from the teeth, it hardens into deposits that cannot be brushed away. Plaque that hardens on the teeth eat away at the enamel, causing cavities. Plaque that hardens along the gum line irritates the gum tissues because the bacteria are eating away at it.

If left unchecked the plaque build up on the gums can lead to gingivitis, a condition where the gums are decomposing, but the body is trying to react to the disease by increasing blood flow to the gums. Bloody, swollen, red or purple gums, and bad breath are all signs of gingivitis. The gingivitis can proceed to such a state where the bone holding the teeth in place is exposed and destroyed by the bacteria. This can cause teeth to loosen or fall out, infections in the teeth and jaw bone, and potentially require removal of the jawbone. This is a medical emergency and could lead to serious injury or death, particularly if an infection is present. (Source:

Heart Disease:

Up to 91% of patients with heart disease have periodontitis, contrasted with 66% of people without heart disease. The theory is this: Poor oral hygiene leads to gum irritation because the blood vessels in the gums are inflamed. When the blood vessels in the mouth are inflamed, it causes nearby blood vessels to become inflamed. When blood vessels are inflamed, they contract and raise blood pressure. And blood pressure is a serious medical condition that raises the risk of heart disease and strokes.  (Source:

Pancreatic Cancer:

There is a link between gum disease and the prevalence of pancreatic cancer according to a study done by Harvard’s School of Public Health. When bacteria decompose the gums, they produce proteins. The proteins are linked to an immune system response that combats prolonged inflammation. Somehow, the genetic information that causes cancer can somehow exploit the “distracted” immune system. It is unclear why poor oral hygiene and gum disease are linked to pancreatic cancer, but there is a causal relationship. (Source:

Respiratory Diseases:

Respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have been shown to be linked to oral bacteria prevalent with gum disease. Likewise pneumonia, although it is caused by a virus, the bacteria present in a mouth with gum disease do cause bacterial pneumonia, which is a highly contagious disease. Both are linked with poor oral hygiene and gum disease. There is a pattern forming here, isn’t there? (Source:

So What Can Be Done To Maintain Good Oral Hygiene?

If you are not brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing every day, you do not have good oral hygiene. But in many cases, just employing good brushing habits will not alone stave off gum disease. Obesity has been linked to cause gum disease because it progresses quicker when the body has a higher body fat percentage. Thus, it is important to exercise, eat proper foods and eat proper food proportions. Losing weight to reach a better body fat percentage will pay off dividends for your mouth and body.

Smoking is devastating to your mouth and smokers are three times more likely to have gum disease. Nicotine causes blood vessels to constrict, reducing hydration and blood flow to the gums. Without hydration in the mouth, tooth enamel will decay. Gums without blood flow cannot fight off the infecting bacteria causing gum disease. It is never too late to quit smoking and gingivitis can be reversed to a healthy mouth.

Alcohol consumption and poor oral hygiene has been linked to gum disease and mouth cancer. Ethanol metabolism produces acetaldehyde, a major carcinogen, which builds up in the oral cavity. Good oral hygiene plays a role in preventing mouth cancer, as it was shown that alcohol drinkers with good oral hygiene had reduced cancer prevalence, whereas the drinkers with poor oral hygiene habits had a higher prevalence of cancer. (Source:

It is clear that good oral hygiene is not only important to the health of the teeth, gum and jaw bone, but also to the rest of the body. Serious diseases such as cancer, stroke, heart disease and even gum disease has been linked with poor dental hygiene. Brushing and flossing your teeth takes only minutes out of your day. But it could prevent untold amounts of time spent suffering from diseases affecting your body. For more information, call Cosmetic Dentist in Boca Raton to set up an appointment to review proper oral hygiene techniques at (561) 232-2070.

Call Cosmetic Dentist in Boca Raton at (561) 232-2070