The surprising link between oral health and your overall well-being

We all know that maintaining good oral health is essential, but did you know that poor oral health can impact the health of your body? As dentists, we like to think of our mouth as a gateway to our body, with strong connections between the health of our teeth and gums and our overall well-being.

Your mouth contains various types of bacteria, some good, others harmful. When you don’t look after your teeth and gums, this bacteria can cause bad breath, cavities and gum disease. Studies have also shown that this bacteria can lead to conditions such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory infections, diabetes and even pregnancy complications. 

Gum disease

Gum disease is a serious issue that’s caused by the bacteria in plaque. It causes inflammation, gum recession and tooth loss, but can also affect the rest of your body. It can contribute to systemic inflammation that has been linked to the increased risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. 

Find out more about gum disease.

Cardiovascular health

Research suggests a link between cardiovascular health and gum disease (periodontitis). If you have a gum infection, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream, causing inflammation in the blood vessels, increasing the risk of cardiovascular problems such as heart disease, stroke and clogged arteries. 

Respiratory health

Did you know that oral health issues such as gum disease are believed to contribute to some respiratory infections like pneumonia? This happens when harmful bacteria in the mouth are inhaled into the lungs. It’s especially detrimental to individuals with compromised immune systems. 

Diabetes and oral health


If you have diabetes you may be more susceptible to gum disease. High blood sugar levels can contribute to the development and progression of gum disease, further intensifying diabetes symptoms and posing challenges in effectively managing the condition.

Pregnancy complications

Poor oral health has been linked to some pregnancy complications including preterm birth, low birth weight and preeclampsia. Harmful bacteria can pass through the bloodstream and potentially affect your developing foetus. 

Other conditions 

Poor oral health may also contribute to a range of other health issues such as problems with digestion, inflammation and systemic diseases and it can even affect your mental health. 

Digestion: Poor oral health, gum disease and missing teeth can affect your ability to chew food properly, leading to digestive problems or gastrointestinal disorders. 

Inflammation and systemic diseases: Oral infections may cause inflammation in other areas of your body and may be associated with systemic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, certain cancers and inflammatory bowel disease. 

Mental health: If you have poor oral health that leads to bad breath or missing teeth, it can start to affect your self-esteem and confidence and in some cases lead to depression. 

Make oral hygiene a priority

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is important when caring for your overall well-being. You can prioritise your oral health by: 

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day.
  • Flossing regularly to remove plaque between your teeth.
  • Scheduling regular dental check-ups. 
  • Eating a balanced diet, avoiding tobacco, and reducing your intake of alcohol and high-sugar food and beverages. 

Visit The Practice – West End dentist

At The Practice, we recommend scheduling dental check-ups every six months to keep your teeth and gums healthy. During these routine appointments, our dentist will carefully assess your teeth and gums, searching for any indications of decay, cavities, gum disease, or other dental concerns. By consistently checking for these kinds of issues, you can identify potential issues early, before they progress into more serious problems. 


Ready to schedule a dental check-up? Book an appointment at our South Brisbane dental practice online or call 07 3733 3223.


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