Did you know that your body’s overall condition is closely connected to the wellbeing of your oral health?

Poor oral health can lead to a variety of health problems which range from mild to fatal. Therefore it’s important that you take good care of this area of your life. It is essential that you schedule regular visits with your Medicine Hat dentist for checkups.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do.

And the first order of business is awareness. Once you know what to look for, you’ll simultaneously know what to do next. And with that in mind, here are 10 risk factors associated with poor oral hygiene.

1. Cardiovascular Disease

Poor cardiovascular health is related to the blood vessels in the mouth. Since the bacteria in plaque (which is heavily influenced by your oral health) can affect blood vessels, you need to ensure your dental hygiene is well taken care of.

If bateria inflames the gums, it can then find its way into your bloodstream, and as a result, cause an accumulation of plaque on your arteries and harden them. This process is referred to as atherosclerosis. And it can have far-reaching consequences. It can result in the interruption of blood flow in addition to blockages of the heart, and can eventually even lead to a heart attack.

However, the silver lining in all of this is it is preventable. With regular visits to your dental clinic in Medicine Hat, as well as the common sense behaviours of brushing and flossing — this is a problem you can most certainly avoid.

2. Type 2 Diabetes

The type 2 diabetes risk increased 5 times for an individual with poor oral hygiene when compared to non-diabetics. Poor oral hygiene brings about an association between diabetes and several oral diseases like caries, gingival inflammation and periodontal disease.

3. Dementia

Dementia is the result of many health risks including poor oral hygiene. Research indicates that people with dementia often have poor dental health which can lead to severe diseases like pneumonia (a fatal disease). If you suffer from senile dementia or Alzheimer’s then regular visits to your dentist are critical.

4. Vision Problems

Poor oral health can affect the eyes which could result in vision problems, particularly if you have gingivitis or other gum diseases. Therefore it’s important that you schedule regular checkups with your dentist (as well as your eye doctor) to make sure everything is alright!

5. Respiratory Disease

Poor oral hygiene can cause acute respiratory diseases like bronchitis, pneumonia, and even lung cancer (in extreme situations). If you begin to experience any symptoms like difficulty breathing or chest pains, make sure that your physician knows about it!

And until then try brushing your teeth for at least 2 minutes every morning and night, flossing regularly, and visiting your dentist regularly. These are the simple habits that anyone can do to avoid not only respiratory disease but every other ailment on this list.

6. Osteoporosis

Although additional research is needed, certain studies have found that people with osteoporosis are more likely to have poor oral health, especially if they do not eat a healthy diet. Tartar build-up can also affect the production of saliva which in turn affects the absorption of calcium, leading to bone loss.

7. Reduced Physical Athletic Performance

Are you active? Well, it’s important for you to know that poor oral hygiene can reduce your performance in the gym. This area of research is still new but studies show an association between plaque build-up (the result of bad oral hygiene) and delayed reaction times as well as endurance.

8. Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can be caused by poor oral hygiene and this is especially true if you have a low intake of fruit and vegetables. It doesn’t matter which disease you’re talking about; it all stems from your oral health. Make sure that you brush, floss and rinse daily!

9. Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease (gum disease) is the result of plaque buildup. If you do not remove this plaque regularly, it can lead to severe periodontitis which can lead to tooth loss, bone destruction and other serious health problems. Those who suffer from periodontitis tend to have weaker immune systems and poorer general health.

10. Depression

Oral health, especially gum disease, can have a negative impact on our mood and emotions. This is primarily due to the fact that inflammation in the gums, as well as teeth, can result in pain as well as swelling which leads to discomforts such as headaches and fatigue. And all of this together can create a very unpleasant and physically painful experience, which can easily lead to depression and other forms of mental illness.


To avoid these risks, thoroughly clean your mouth at least twice a day using toothpaste and floss or an interdental brush. Then make sure to visit your dentist for regular checkups!

Medically reviewed by Dr. Gurshant Grew - D.D.S. on November 29, 2021

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