We all know that brushing and flossing regularly is healthy for teeth and gums. But you may be surprised to learn that this daily practice actually significantly affects your overall body health as well. The Mayo Clinic has found links between oral hygiene and at least seven major health systems and functions within the human body.  


  1. Heart Health

One specific heart illness that has been tied to poor oral hygiene is endocarditis. Endocarditis is an infection on the inner lining of the heart and can cause serious damage to overall heart health. The cause of endocarditis has been tied to increased levels of bacteria within the mouth that travel into the bloodstream.

With regular brushing and flossing this bacterial concentration can be decreased significantly. Neglect can cause more serious damage such as endocarditis and can leave permanent damage to the heart.

  1. Cardiovascular Health

The second correlation concerns cardiovascular disease. Specifically, it concerns heart disease that can lead to heart attacks, blocked arteries, and even stroke in some cases. These have been connected to infections and high bacterial levels within the mouth.

  1. Pregnancy

The next connection is between inflamed gums and carrying a pregnancy to term. Periodontitis is a disease where gums become chronically inflamed. Often times inflammation is due to bacteria build-up which can be prevented by brushing and flossing regularly. This periodontitis can lead to low birth weight and premature labor and birth.

  1. Pneumonia

With excess bacteria within the mouth, sometimes the bacteria can be sucked into the lungs and cause infection. This infection can cause pneumonia, which can be life-threatening in susceptible populations such as children, the elderly, and people with lowered immune systems. Regular dental checkups and cleaning twice a day from home can prevent bacterial buildup that lead to infections such as pneumonia and prevent it from taking place.

  1. Diabetes

The influence can work both ways. Other health complications such as diabetes can cause oral health issues, which can lead to the previously mentioned health complications. Diabetes leads to a lowered immune system, which can cause gum disease. Other research has proven that those with gum disease tend to have a difficult time managing blood sugar levels within their blood. If action is taken regularly to brush and floss then the management of blood sugar levels becomes more successful.

  1. Immune disorders

People who have immune disorders have a more difficult time fighting off infection. If there is a small cut or lesion within the mouth then oftentimes it can develop into a problem for people with HIV/AIDS and other immune disorders. Ensuring proper oral health is essential for preventing oral sores and for healing. Mouthwash and regular dental cleaning to kill bacteria within the mouth are both effective for preventing painful oral sores and treating them.

  1. Osteoporosis

The final area where oral health affects overall health is osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is where bones begin to degrade and weaken. This disease can cause bone loss in the periodontal region. This bone loss in the periodontal region then weakens the bond between the teeth and the jaw, which can lead to tooth loss.

Bottom Line

It may be a surprise that oral hygiene has a huge effect on the entire body, and can lead to dangerous illnesses. But it’s never too late to get checked out and tested for any potential dangerous illnesses and conditions.