Skip a Dentist Visit and Risk Your Whole Health

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Skip a Dentist Visit and Risk Your Whole Health

The link between oral and overall health is undeniable, which is why it’s so important to attend regular dental cleanings and exams. During these appointments, the dentist will take a good look at your mouth for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. If any of these issues are left untreated, other symptoms and overall health problems may develop.

In this blog, Dr. Lee shares how seven systemic health issues are linked to poor oral health. 

If you haven’t been to the dentist in the past six months, call our office to schedule an initial consultation with our Grant Park dentist at 404-328-7177.

1.    Heart Disease

One of the most common links to cardiovascular disease is gum disease. The bacteria that inflame the gums can drift into the bloodstream and cause arteries to harden. This leads to heart blockages and increases a person’s risk of having a heart attack.

Over time, the damage caused to the arteries can lead to hypertension, stroke, and endocarditis.

2.    Respiratory Infection

Infected teeth and swollen gums hold dangerous bacteria that can infect the lungs through the bloodstream or breathing. When you breathe, germs from your mouth get sucked into the lungs. As a result, respiratory infections, pneumonia, acute bronchitis, and COPD my develop.

3.    Diabetes

According to the American Dental Association, nearly 22% of people with diabetes are diagnosed with gum disease. Poor blood sugar control increases a person’s risk for gum problems AND blood sugar levels are often affected by gum disease.

Since gum disease can cause blood sugar to spike, people with bad oral hygiene increase their risk of diabetes.

4.    Dementia

Periodontitis, the advanced stage of gum disease, has been linked to mental decline and dementia. A 2005 to 2015 study disclosed that people with a diagnosis of chronic periodontitis were six percent more likely to develop dementia than those who without periodontitis.

There are three possible explanations for this:

  • Bacteria from the gums enters the bloodstream, crosses the blood-brain barrier, and initiates brain tissue inflammation.
  • The gum infection triggers a “systematic inflammatory state” that stimulates inflammation throughout the body, including the brain.
  • Damage to the lining of the blood vessels leads to toxic proteins in the brain.

5.    Rheumatoid Arthritis

The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society reported that people with gum disease are four times more likely to have rheumatoid arthritis. Because the oral bacteria from gum disease promote inflammation throughout the body, a person’s risk for developing RA is much higher.

6.    Infertility

Both men and women with bad oral health can struggle with fertility issues. For women, it may take longer to conceive (one study reported that it takes two months longer). For men, gum disease and tooth decay can be linked to poor sperm and semen health.

7.    Pregnancy Complications

Hormonal changes can increase a woman’s chance of developing gum disease. This is especially dangerous during pregnancy. Any sort of infection may lead to complications like premature birth, low birth weight in infants, and serious health issues for both mom and baby.


Along with regular dental cleanings and exams, establishing a good oral hygiene routine at home will help prevent the development of gum disease. The best oral hygiene routines include:

  • Brushing properly
  • Flossing daily
  • Using antibacterial mouthwash
  • Eating properly

Schedule Your Dental Cleaning Today

Begin improving your oral health and decreasing your risk for overall health issues today by scheduling an appointment with a dentist today. Ask about the best products to use at home to decrease your risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and oral cancer while you’re there!

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Lee today by calling 404-328-7177.

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