Having poor dental health can affect more than just teeth. There are links between poor oral hygiene and serious health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. However, visiting your Reno dentist can help you avoid health problems related to bad oral health, and get you on a proper oral hygiene routine. 

Health Problems Related to Poor Oral Hygiene

Poor oral health can lead to gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontal disease. These diseases deteriorate gum tissue and can destroy teeth and even the jaw bone. If these gum diseases go untreated they can cause problems in other parts of the body to occur. 

Heart Disease

There are various heart diseases that have been linked to poor dental health such as cardiovascular disease and endocarditis. The bacteria from inflammation caused by harmful gum diseases are able to enter the bloodstream. Once the bacteria enters the bloodstream it can travel to the arteries in the heart. Then, the bad bacteria can cause the arteries to harden which may block blood from the heart to flow through to other parts of the body. 

People with periodontal disease are at a higher risk of heart attack and in some cases, may even develop endocarditis. Endocarditis occurs when the inner lining of the heart becomes infected and inflamed. 

Maintaining healthy gums and a healthy mouth will help you avoid the harmful gum diseases that can cause infection. 

Lung Infections

Periodontal disease increases the likelihood of contracting a severe lung infection such as pneumonia. This is caused by the added bacteria that breeds in mouths that are infected with periodontal disease. Bacteria in the mouth is easily able to reach the lungs which colonize in the respiratory tract and cause infections in the lungs. The spread of bacteria can also lead to low immunity and make it harder for your body to fight off lung infections. Diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may also be made worse by harsh gum diseases. And lung irritation and inflammation can also cause oral tissue to depreciate and may affect a person’s ability to breathe properly. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects joints all over the body. This is also an auto-immune disease that makes it difficult for the body to properly fight off inflammation and bacteria which is why it’s so common for people who live with RA to develop gum disease. Having rheumatoid arthritis can increase the risk of developing gum diseases and may increase the severity of one’s symptoms. Because inflammation can be caused by gum disease, it can also increase the negative effects of those who live with rheumatoid arthritis. 

People who suffer from painful RA flare-ups in their jaw may also have a more difficult time brushing and flossing their teeth which increases the risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease. It’s important for those who live with RA to maintain proper brushing habits in order to avoid serious gum disease that can make RA symptoms worse.  

Cerebral Damage

Gum diseases can also be linked to serious brain conditions such as dementia and stroke. These conditions can be triggered by bacteria from gingivitis that enter the brain through nerve channels in the head or through the bloodstream. Strokes can occur when a blood vessel that delivers blood to the brain is blocked. This can then prevent oxygen from getting to the brain and thus results in stroke. Dementia may also occur due to the harmful bacteria that reach the brain. 

These conditions may be preventable with a proper oral hygiene routine and good dental health.


Diabetes is caused by having high levels of blood sugar, or blood glucose. It’s well known that people who suffer from diabetes are more prone to getting gum disease, but studies are also showing that diabetes is directly affected by gum disease as well. Gum disease affects blood glucose control which contributes to the negative effects of diabetes patients. Diabetes also reduces the body’s resistance to infection, including infections caused by periodontal disease. 

The bacteria caused by periodontal disease may also produce harmful toxins that affect carbohydrate metabolism in cells which are necessary to ensure a constant supply of energy to living cells. Another complication of gum disease in diabetic patients is that periodontal bacteria can increase insulin resistance which directly affects blood glucose control.

Practicing good oral hygiene can significantly help patients with diabetes to avoid harmful gum diseases that may affect their disease even further.  

Contact Your Local Reno Dentist for the Best Dental Health Services

Well Beyond Dental goes beyond the normal standards of dentistry. Their team of professional Reno dentists, hygienists, and assistants is all dedicated to providing the best Reno dentistry services possible. They’ve combined skill and experience from across multiple practices to create the most knowledgeable team of dentists in Reno. Connect with our Reno dentistry today!

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