Health Issues Caused by Poor Oral Health

Health Issues Caused by Poor Oral Health

Post Date: Jan 10, 2024

Oral health is a big part of your overall health. Your mouth is a major entrance into your body. That connection means that what’s going on in your mouth can impact other internal systems too, and the other way around. Be aware of these health problems that are connected to poor oral health.

Direct link

A few health issues can be directly caused by poor oral hygiene. Remember that genetics play a role, and everyone’s mouth is different. Regular dentist visits can help you stay on top of these problems.


Cavities, permanent damage to a tooth in the form of pits and holes, can be a direct result of poor oral health. Acids in plaque (the buildup of bacteria that happens when you don’t brush properly) erode your tooth enamel over time. If left untreated, cavities can cause pain and even tooth loss. Brushing can help prevent cavities, but they can happen to anyone. Catching them early at a dental exam can help prevent small cavities from turning into large ones.

Gum disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, happens when the tissue that holds your teeth in place (your gums) gets infected. Gum disease can occur because of poor oral hygiene since plaque buildup turns into hard tartar from inadequate brushing. This can lead to painful, bleeding gums and bigger problems, like tooth loss, at later stages.

Possible contributors

Studies have shown that some diseases have a direct connection to your oral health, and poor oral health could actually be part of the cause of these health issues.


Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs caused by bacteria. Because our mouths are full of bacteria, poor oral hygiene can allow some types of bacteria that cause pneumonia to enter the lungs, where the infection starts.

Oral cancer

Smoking and chewing tobacco can contribute to the development of oral cancer. Sometimes oral HPV can cause oral cancer. Some studies have shown that higher rates of other types of cancers can be connected to poor mouth health as well. If you have concerns about changes you notice in your mouth or throughout the rest of your body, be sure to discuss them with your healthcare provider.

Associated diseases

Some health issues in other parts of your body can actually cause the health of your mouth to decrease, not the other way around. If you or a loved one is dealing with any of these issues, it’s a good idea to take extra care with oral health and hygiene.

Alzheimer's: It’s common to see oral health get worse as Alzheimer’s progresses.

Diabetes: Diabetes reduces your body’s ability to fight infection, which may lead to gum disease being more common in diabetes patients.

Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis weakens bones, which scientists have connected to tooth loss.

Scientists continue to research the ways these different health issues interact. But the benefits of keeping your mouth healthy should be clear.

How to keep good oral health

Oral health starts at home. Think about eating a healthy diet with lots of vitamins and low sugar. Brush twice each day, flossing daily to help remove plaque buildup. Don’t forget to replace your toothbrush every few months when the bristles start to fray. Avoiding tobacco products can help keep your mouth healthy too.

Visiting the dentist for a once- or twice-yearly checkup and professional cleaning can also help keep your mouth healthy and catch problems before they get bad. CHP’s dental clinics in Livingston, Bozeman, and Belgrade offer sliding-scale services and emergency walk-in clinics when you need them. Make an appointment, and take care of your oral health.