The Link Between Oral Health and Overall Health

Taking care of your teeth isn’t just about having a white smile, fresh breath and no cavities. Good dental habits are critical to the overall health of your body. Brushing, flossing and keeping up with regular dental appointments not only keep your mouth in good shape but help prevent various diseases and conditions that affect your entire body.

Cardiovascular Disease 
Periodontal disease—or gum disease—is associated with a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Poor brushing and flossing habits allow bacterial infections to form in the gums. The infection then passes into the bloodstream. From there, it affects the heart’s arteries, leading to stroke, hypertension and other heart-related conditions. 

Respiratory Illnesses
Unwanted bacteria in the mouth can contribute to multiple respiratory problems, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia. These are caused when bacteria from the mouth are inhaled into the lungs, allowing infection to spread throughout the respiratory system. This is of particular concern for those with lungs already damaged by disease, worsening their conditions.

Diabetes
Gum disease and diabetes have an intertwined relationship. For people with gum disease, germs leak from infected gums into the bloodstream during chewing and tooth brushing. This activates the body’s defense system causing blood sugar levels to rise and increases the likelihood of developing diabetes. For those who have diabetes, gum disease is very common. If left untreated, their symptoms will worsen. Either way, proactive treatment of gum disease is critical for those with and without diabetes for the prevention of future problems. 

Pregnancy Complications
During pregnancy, hormone levels increase, making women more likely to develop oral infections. Left untreated, these infections lead to complications during pregnancy. What’s more, expectant mothers who have gum disease are also at an increased risk of premature birth and low birth weight for their child.


At Vacendak Dentistry we believe in a holistic approach to oral care. We look at more than just your teeth and gums; we look at your overall health. Be proactive in taking care of your health and call us today at (757) 609-3510 to schedule an appointment.