It’s no secret that the number one way to keep one’s oral health in tip-top shape is to keep up with regular dental appointments. While it’s easy to understand why regularly seeing your dentist keeps your teeth and gums healthy, less obvious are the ways that dentists can also detect other health issues throughout the rest of their patient’s body. The key to a long, healthy life is making sure that your entire body has a clean bill of health, and the first step is making sure that your oral health is at 100 percent. There are several different health issues that can take a toll on the body if a person doesn’t take proper care of their mouth. Gum disease alone is linked to several life-changing health concerns.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States and can come in several different forms. Coronary artery disease is the most common, and the first place that it can be detected is at a regular visit to the dentist. If a dentist finds inflammation of the gums, this can be a strong indicator that the patient has heart disease. This is due to the bacteria in the gums entering the bloodstream and making their way to the arteries, causing the plaque to harden and blocking passageways to the heart. This leads to heart attack, strokes, and other fatal heart conditions.

Respiratory Infections

Poor oral health can also begin to affect the respiratory system, causing a number of different issues. If there is gum disease or tooth decay in the mouth, the bacteria can travel by means other than just saliva. While breathing in and out, the bacteria can travel into the lungs and cause illnesses such as pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma attacks, and other complications.

Pregnancy and Infertility

Most people who are having a hard time trying to get pregnant aren’t even aware that their infertility may be caused by complications with their oral health. Poor oral health can cause issues for many women during pregnancy as well. For a woman who is trying to get pregnant, poor oral hygiene can cause the process to take longer. Studies show that gum disease adds two months to the time needed to conceive. Women who are pregnant have to be extra diligent about maintaining good oral hygiene, because changes in their hormone levels can cause their mouth to be vulnerable to bacteria that can not only affect the mother but also the baby.


Overall, dental hygiene is important to maintain not just for your oral health but for the health of your entire body. Poor oral care can affect everything from your lungs to your possibilities of getting pregnant as well as things in your mouth like gingivitis. The best way to get proper oral care and decrease the risk of any of the problems mentioned above is by thoroughly cleaning the teeth and gums daily, and keeping up with regular visits to the dentist.