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8 Health Problems That Could Be Caused by Poor Oral Health

April 12, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — drsanker @ 3:51 pm
Upset woman covering her mouth

You’ve probably considered how a lack of proper dental hygiene can affect your mouth. Most of us know the importance of regular flossing and brushing to prevent plaque buildup and cavities. But, did you know that poor oral health has been associated with several far more serious health conditions? Here are 8 medical issues that are more common in those with unhealthy gums and teeth.


Diabetes makes it difficult for a person’s body to manage blood sugar levels. It may surprise you that gum disease can contribute to higher sugar levels and sometimes leads to the development, or worsening, of diabetes.

Respiratory Infections

Bacteria in the mouth can cause swollen gums and infected teeth. However, it’s possible for bacteria to travel to your lungs through your bloodstream or when you breathe. Over time, a buildup of bacteria can lead to respiratory infections and even bronchitis, pneumonia, or COPD.

Cardiovascular Disease

There’s a prominent link between oral health and the heart. Inflamed gums and bacteria in the mouth increases a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease. It’s believed that bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause a hardening of the arteries—this leads to blood flow problems and potential blockages.


Infection in the gums can travel to the brain and destroy vital brain cells. Researchers suggest that memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s can develop from poor oral hygiene.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society has found that people with gum disease are four times more likely to have Rheumatoid Arthritis. Right now, the hypothesis is that bacteria in the mouth can cause inflammation throughout the body.

Kidney Disease

Gum disease weakens your immune system, increasing your risk of developing infections in your kidneys.


Did you know that poor oral hygiene can make it harder for women to conceive? Some studies suggest that gum disease can be the culprit of the inability of some women to become pregnant.


Some types of cancers have been linked to gum disease. The risk for developing pancreatic, kidney, and blood cancer increases in those with poor oral health.

Proper oral hygiene isn’t just about maintaining a healthy smile. Your overall health, and maybe even your life, depends on it.

About The Author

Dr. Sanker developed his passion for dentistry from his father and graduated from Bucknell University in 1979 with a biology degree. He went on to complete his dental training at Georgetown University School of Dentistry and continued his study at the Medical College of Virginia. He is a prosthodontist, specializing in dental restoration and tooth replacements. Dr. Sanker is a member of the American Dental Association, Maryland State Dental Association, and the Southern Maryland Dental Society. If you have any questions about your oral health, make sure you visit his website or give him a call at (301)468-5566.

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