How Dental Health Affects Your Overall Health

Dental hygiene is extremely important. In general, by taking good care of your teeth and gums, you are helping to prevent bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay. However, the benefits of good dentistry such as the ones provided by Furniss Family Dentistry of Gilmer do not stop there. Maintaining good dental health can also lead to good overall health. Several areas of the body are specifically affected by poor dental hygiene.


When a serious dental issue like periodontal disease develops, it can have significant impacts on a person’s heart. The bacteria from this type of infection can enter the bloodstream and travel to the heart. This can lead to a condition called atherosclerosis, which is the hardening of the arteries in and around the heart. Because the arteries harden, plaque builds up along the artery walls, narrowing the openings. This significantly reduces blood flow in and out of the heart, which restricts the supply of oxygen to the rest of the body. Atherosclerosis can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Even more serious, a person can develop endocarditis, an inflammation of the inner lining of the heart. This infection can seriously damage the heart.


Similarly, bacteria from the gum disease gingivitis can travel through the body and enter the brain through the bloodstream or infected nerve endings. Bacterial infections in the brain can lead to a litany of developmental issues including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.


Bacteria from inflamed gums and infected teeth can also get into the lungs during its journey through the body. This can happen from breathing in the bacteria directly or through the bloodstream. Bacterial infections such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can develop. All of these infections can lead to difficulty breathing, prolonged cough, and wheezing.

Immune System

Overall, poor dental hygiene leads to the potential that dangerous bacteria can be released throughout the body. People who already suffer from autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis can suffer greatly due to poor general dental care. Areas that are affected by this flood of bacteria see an increase in the body’s autoimmune response, which leads to an increase in discomfort and pain.

Poor oral health can lead to a wide variety of health issues. While we have only elaborated on a few here, there are many other impacts on the body relating to poor dental hygiene including diabetes, pregnancy complications and infertility, erectile dysfunction, and even kidney disease. Your mouth is important to your overall general good health so let Dr. Furniss and his staff help you to maintain it through excellent, specialized care. It is important to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Visit us regularly to establish proper care of your gums and teeth.