Your mouth is, in effect, the gateway to the rest of your body. Everything that’s in your mouth can travel throughout your bloodstream, into your lungs, and into your digestive system. While that’s good when you’re eating fruits and vegetables, it’s not always so great if you’re lax about brushing and flossing regularly. Did you know that poor oral hygiene has more serious implications than just bad breath or cavities? Here’s 5 serious health complications that can be triggered, caused, or worsened by poor oral hygiene.


Inflammation that occurs from infected teeth, swollen gums, or periodontitis, has a negative effect on the body’s ability to produce insulin. This can make symptoms of diabetes considerably worse. What’s more, individuals with diabetes tend to be more susceptible to infections like periodontitis, which can eventually lead to tooth loss, making it even more important to observe proper oral hygiene habits.

Respiratory Problems

This one doesn’t immediately make sense, but if you think about it, there’s all kinds of bacteria in your mouth. If you have poor oral hygiene habits, your mouth develops more bacteria, and not always the good kind. Imagine breathing those bad bacterias in every single day. Eventually, they’re going to end up in your lungs, and that can even lead to pneumonia. Infections in your teeth can lead to infections in your lungs.

Heart Disease

Just as those infections from your mouth can get into your lungs, so does bad bacteria reach your heart. If your mouth isn’t clean, and you’re constantly swallowing bad bacteria and infection, that can get into your bloodstream, and end up at your heart. Essentially, the bacteria from periodontitis and gum disease causes your arteries to harden (atherosclerosis) which raises your risk of heart attack and stroke significantly. Additionally, those bacterias can cause the lining of your heart to become inflamed or infected, a dangerous condition called endocarditis.


Studies have shown that there may be a link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s. Essentially, the bacteria from gingivitis or periodontitis can enter your brain through nerve channels, or through the bloodstream, which could potentially lead to the development of Alzheimer’s.


There are many links between gum disease and various types of cancer. Since your mouth is where everything in your body starts, when there’s bad bacteria in your mouth, it can quickly spread to the rest of your body, triggering serious conditions like cancer. What’s more, many dentists are able to spot certain types of cancer early on through routine dental checks, making it all the more important to make sure you’re seeing your dentist every six months.

Preventing These Diseases

While having great oral hygiene doesn’t mean you won’t get diabetes or Alzheimer’s, it can certainly lower your risk. So what do you need to do to make sure you’re following good oral hygiene practices?

  • Brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day. (If not three times.)
  • Floss daily.
  • Consider implementing an oral mouth rinse into your daily routine.
  • Use a toothpaste with fluoride as this helps strengthen teeth and gums.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve seen a dentist, or if you’re looking to schedule an appointment, make sure to get in touch with the Creason, Weber & Mountford Family Dentistry. We’re currently accepting new patients, and we’d love to see you! Give us a call at 616-842-0822, or request an appointment online today!