How is Oral Health Connected to Total Health?

The TeleDentists
January 17, 2024

Did you know that oral health is directly connected with overall health in many ways? Maintaining good oral hygiene has been proven to contribute to a person's general well-being and longevity. The TeleDentists can show you how the connection between oral health and total health is supported by various scientific studies and medical research. Here are some key aspects of this relationship:

1. Inflammation and Infection:

  - Poor oral health, such as gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis), can lead to inflammation and infection in the gums. Inflammatory processes in the mouth may contribute to systemic inflammation, which is associated with various health conditions, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.

If your gums are bleeding, swollen gums, or painful gums, you might have gum disease. If you have not been to a dentist in a year (or more), you will need to have a professional dental exam to determine the level of gum disease in your mouth.


2. Bacteria and Systemic Diseases:

  - The mouth is home to a diverse community of bacteria. If oral hygiene is neglected, harmful bacteria can flourish, leading to dental issues. Some of these bacteria can enter the bloodstream, potentially contributing to infections or inflammation in other parts of the body.

It's nearly impossible to precisely determine how many bacteria are present inside your mouth, but scientists estimate nearly 20 billion. GROSS! Every time you swallow, those bacteria enter your body through your saliva. Think about that next time you decide to skip brushing and flossing.


3. Cardiovascular Health:

  - Some studies suggest a potential link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular diseases. The exact nature of this relationship is still being explored, but it is thought that inflammation and infection from the gums may play a role in the development of heart problems.

If you listen to your dental hygienist, they use words like “plaque” “tartar” and “buildup”—for cardiovascular patients those words can be life threatening.


4. Diabetes:

  - Diabetes and periodontal disease have a bidirectional relationship. Poorly controlled diabetes can contribute to gum disease, and conversely, gum disease may make it more challenging to control blood sugar levels. Managing oral health is particularly crucial for individuals with diabetes.

If your A1Cs are unrelenting, it’s time to discuss your treatment options with The TeleDentists.


5. Respiratory Health:

  - Poor oral health may be associated with respiratory issues, as bacteria in the mouth can be aspirated into the lungs, potentially leading to respiratory infections, pneumonia, or exacerbating existing conditions.

If you undergo surgery and need to be intubated, anesthesiologists always ask to see inside your mouth. Unfortunately, they cannot see the billions of bacteria they shove down your throat. Hospital acquired pneumonia incidence ranges from five to more than 20 cases per 1000 hospital admissions.


6. Pregnancy and Birth Outcomes:

  - Pregnant women with gum disease may be at a higher risk of certain complications, such as preterm birth and low birth weight. Maintaining good oral hygiene is important for the overall health of both the mother and the developing baby.

The TeleDentists can consult you before, during, and after your pregnancy. Children are not born with bacteria in their mouths. In fact, it is the caregivers who pass that bacterium onto the babies. So please, before you kiss your beautiful newborn, consult with The TeleDentists!


7. Nutrition and Well-Being:

  - Oral health can impact a person's ability to chew and eat nutritious foods. Tooth loss or discomfort may lead to dietary restrictions, potentially affecting overall nutrition and well-being.

If you or someone you know has missing teeth or dentures, they will be the first to tell you how difficult it is to eat a healthy, hearty meal. Saving your teeth will save you some essential chewing time.


8. Systemic Conditions:

  - Some systemic conditions, such as autoimmune disorders and osteoporosis, may manifest oral symptoms. Dentists and healthcare professionals may sometimes identify signs of underlying health issues during routine dental examinations.

Conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoporosis, and even certain cancers are directly linked to poor oral health.


Taking care of your oral health is not just about maintaining a bright smile; it is an integral part of overall health and well-being. Regular dental check-ups, good oral hygiene practices, and a healthy lifestyle contribute to both oral health and total health.

If you have any concerns about your total health, connect with The TeleDentists to find out how you can improve your oral health. You can even speak with a TeleHygienist about dental products, brushing techniques, and home-care options for your mouth.