The Top 10 Health Issues Caused by Bad Oral Health

A woman holding her jaw in pain due to bad oral health.

We often don’t consider the impact our oral health can have on the rest of our bodies. But not maintaining proper oral hygiene can have a detrimental effect not only on how good your teeth look and whether or not you have bad breath, but bad dental hygiene has actually been linked to a plethora of serious health issues. 

When oral health isn’t maintained, it can lead to bacteria from your mouth finding its way into the body. These bacteria are thought to contribute to the onset of many health problems, highlighting the importance of oral health.

Check out the top 10 typical health issues that may be caused by bad teeth.

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1. Increased Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease 

Medical and dental evidence suggests that bad dental hygiene practices that lead to gum disease are linked to cardiovascular disease. In fact, according to Harvard Health Publishing, one theory for this connection is that the bacteria present in the mouth that cause gum disease can enter the bloodstream leading to inflammation of the blood vessels. Regardless of the connection, the evidence shows that people with bad dental hygiene have higher rates of cardiovascular problems such as heart attack and stroke.

Fortunately, maintaining good oral hygiene by flossing and brushing at home and regularly getting your teeth cleaned by a professional dentist can prevent you from getting gum disease. Avoiding gum disease can be beneficial in protecting your heart health.

2. An Increased Risk Of Erectile Dysfunction 

When the bloodstream begins to be affected by bad teeth, it can lead to all kinds of unfortunate problems. For example, a 2019 study found a compelling link between chronic periodontitis and erectile dysfunction. Having bad dental hygiene can lead to chronic periodontal disease (CPD). CPD can lead to the gums pulling away from the teeth, creating small pockets where bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause inflammation in the blood vessels. This inflammation can hinder blood flow, making it more difficult to achieve an erection.

Regularly seeing your dentist is one of the best things you can do to prevent mouth infections and gum disease that can eventually lead to CPD. Book an appointment online with one of Absolute Dental’s Las Vegas locations today and take control of your oral health.

3. Your Risk For Certain Cancers

While it has always been clear that practices promoting bad teeth, such as smoking and other tobacco use, increase the risk of cancer, mounting evidence suggests that gum disease may also increase the risk. A study published by Johns Hopkins Medicine found as much as a 24% increase in the likelihood of cancer diagnosis in patients with severe periodontitis. This was especially evident in the increased risk for pancreatic cancer.

4. High Blood Sugar (Diabetes) 

Not only does gum disease make it more likely that you will develop diabetes, but if you already have diabetes, the chances of getting gum disease are significantly higher due to the increased risk of mouth infections. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), gum disease causes inflammation, which causes higher than normal blood glucose levels. This makes it significantly more likely you will develop diabetes.

If you already have diabetes, there’s an increased risk of gum disease. So, it is vital for people with diabetes to do the following, according to the ADA:

  • Manage your diabetes
  • See your dentist every six months
  • Follow your dentist’s recommendations for daily cleaning and preventing mouth infections

5. Your Risk For Developing Kidney Disease 

A woman with kidney disease holds her back while in kidney pain.

Kidney disease is a condition in which your kidneys cannot properly filter your blood causing waste to build up. This can lead to other problems such as heart disease and stroke. Studies have shown a link between gum disease and oral inflammation associated with decreased kidney function. A 2021 study conducted by the University of Birmingham found a 10% increase in gum inflammation can reduce kidney function by as much as 3%, and a 10% decrease in kidney function resulted in a 25% increase in gum inflammation.

6. An Increased Risk Of Developing Dementia 

When the bacteria that cause gum disease get into the bloodstream, they can travel through the bloodstream to the brain. Studies suggest that these bacteria can lead to dementia. A 2020 study also found a connection between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Take control of your dental health today by booking an appointment online at one of Absolute Dental’s Reno locations.

7. Increases Your Risk Of Developing Rheumatoid Arthritis 

Medical evidence has suggested a link between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a 2019 study. It is thought that a bacterium (specifically one called porphyromonas gingivalis) in the mouth of those with gum disease gets into the bloodstream and causes inflammation in both gum disease and RA.

RA is a painful inflammatory autoimmune condition that can cause: 

  • Painful joints
  • Stiffness in the joints
  • Swollen joints
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Fever

8. Higher Rate Of Respiratory Infections 

Gingivitis that becomes chronic can also be breathed into your lungs causing respiratory illness and infections. Once the bacteria are present in the bloodstream and lung tissues, the associated inflammation often causes worsening of conditions such as asthma or COPD.

Stay on top of your oral health by finding a general dentist at Absolute Dental today.

9. Issues with fertility

Some studies suggest chronic periodontitis could make it more difficult for individuals to conceive. Much like other factors that influence fertility, bad dental hygiene doesn’t make it impossible to conceive. However, the evidence suggests that people with poor dental health may take longer to become pregnant than those with good dental health. 

10. Pregnancy Complications 

Pregnant individuals may be more prone to mouth infections such as cavities and gum disease. Therefore, it’s extremely important that pregnant people practice good dental hygiene and regularly see their dentist to prevent this. Mouth infections can pose risks to both parents and babies. For example, some evidence suggests that those with periodontitis may be more at risk for premature birth and having a baby with a low birth weight. 

Prevention Is Key

A Las Vegas dentist smiling as she sits next to her patient.

Many of these issues may lead you to wonder — can a cavity kill you, or can gum disease kill you? But as long as you maintain good oral health practices and regularly see a dentist, your dental and overall health should be fine. The best way to practice good dental hygiene is: 

  • Floss your teeth at least once a day
  • Brush your teeth and gums for two minutes twice a day
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste, and fluoride mouthwash
  • Cease the use of tobacco products (smoking, chewing, and vaping)
  • Maintain a diet that offers ultimate nutrition
  • Avoid foods and drinks with excessive amounts of sugar
  • Drink plenty of water (ask your dentist about tap water vs. filtered water for your fluoride needs)
  • Chew sugar-free gum that is approved by the American Dental Association after meals
  • Ask your dentist about supplements for oral health 

Your dental health is closely connected to your overall health. Taking the necessary precautions to prevent tooth decay and gum disease is crucial for maintaining overall health.

Book an appointment online with Absolute Dental today to prevent tooth decay and gum disease that can lead to other health issues (844) 8‑SMILE‑NOW
(844) 876‑4536


Beydoun, M. (2020). Clinical and Bacterial Markers of Periodontitis and Their Association with Incident All-Cause and Alzheimer’s Disease Dementia in a Large National Survey.
Chronic Kidney Disease Basics. (2022).
Dental experts discover biological imbalance is the reason for link between gum and kidney disease. (2021).
Dental Health and Lung Disease. (2019).
Diabetes and Gum Disease: A Two-Way Street. (n.d.).
Farook, F. (2021). The Association Between Periodontitis and Erectile Dysfunction: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.
Kriauciunas, A. (2019). The Influence of Porphyromonas Gingivalis Bacterium Causing Periodontal Disease on the Pathogenesis of Rheumatoid Arthritis: Systematic Review of Literature.
More Evidence of Link Between Severe Gum Disease and Cancer Risk. (2018).
Nwhator, SO. (2014). Could Periodontitis Affect Time to Conception?.
Periodontal Disease. (2013).
Pregnancy and Oral Health. (2022).
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). (2020).
Shmerling, R. (2021). Gum disease and the connection to heart disease

About the Author

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Dr. Joan Landron

Currently serving the community at Absolute Dental since August 2008, Dr. Joan Landron graduated from Temple University School of Dentistry in 1997.

She further honed her skills with a general practice residency at Metropolitan Hospital and underwent specialized training at New York University’s Implant Program for General Practitioners. Specializing in services such as X-rays, examinations, cleanings, crowns, and more, Dr. Landron brings a comprehensive approach to general and cosmetic dentistry, including implants.

A proud member of the American Dental Association, Nevada Dental Association, and Southern Nevada Dental Association, she cherishes her free time by spending moments with family, reading, and maintaining her health through exercise. Dr. Landron takes immense pride in being a part of the Absolute Dental team and is dedicated to her patients at the Absolute Dental – Nellis in Las Vegas, ensuring they receive the best care possible.

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