Living with Chronic Pain

Health Conditions That Can Be Caused by Poor Oral Hygiene


Proper dental hygiene is essential for oral health and overall well-being. Some aspects of oral health are impacted by certain health conditions. Likewise, problems in the mouth can affect other systems of the body. Below are examples of health conditions that can be caused by poor oral hygiene.

Heart disease

Poor oral health increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. This includes coronary artery disease, clogged arteries, strokes, and endocarditis. Bacteria that are not controlled by proper dental hygiene have the potential to move into the bloodstream, causing inflammation that can lead to heart disease. Bacteria infections can also occur when extracting a tooth.


Stomach and esophageal cancer occur at higher rates in individuals who have a history of gum disease. This may be due to increased exposure to oral bacteria or the harmful substances they can produce.

Respiratory infections

Poor oral health causes an increase in bacteria in the mouth, which can travel into the lungs. This can lead to respiratory infections, such as pneumonia, emphysema, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Practicing proper oral hygiene can reduce the risk of certain respiratory infections.


Poor dental hygiene can lead to cognitive decline during the aging process. Poor oral health can cause bad bacteria to increase, install in the gums, and travel to the brain. This can begin the process of neurodegeneration, leading to diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

The relationship between periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis is comorbid. Scientists have discovered that periodontal disease may create an immune response in the body, leading to inflammation that causes rheumatoid arthritis. Bacteria that originate in the mouth can also be found in joint fluid, contributing to early onset and swift progression of RA. Long-term gum inflammation may also negatively impact the effectiveness of certain medications used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Kidney disease

Periodontal disease develops more frequently in those who have chronic kidney disease. The association is bidirectional, meaning that both conditions impact each other. Original causation is yet to be determined.

Pregnancy complications

Improper oral health can cause certain pregnancy complications. This includes premature delivery, pre-eclampsia, low birth weight of the baby, pregnancy tumors, and pregnancy granuloma.

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