How Dental Health Affects Your Overall Health

by | Feb 15, 2021 | Blog Posts

How Dental Health Affects Your Overall Health

It is not just your breath that suffers when you fail to floss or skip cleanings. It is true that dental health affects your health and your entire body. Numerous organs can be damaged by excessive oral bacteria, infection, or inflammation. In order to maintain a healthy body, it is essential to schedule routine dental cleanings in addition to having a strict oral maintenance regime at home. Dr. Cohen and the entire staff at Empire Dental Care are committed to providing you with the quality dental care you need to promote overall wellness.

How Poor Dental Health Affects Your Health?

The warm, wet mouth is the perfect environment to harbor bacteria. Unfortunately, these microscopic germs easily adhere to tooth surfaces and under the gum line. Without thorough at-home oral care and routine dental cleanings performed by a professional, bacteria can penetrate your gum tissue and then travel to organs of the body and cause damage to various systems.

Heart Damage

Bacteria on the gums and teeth can travel through the bloodstream to the heart. It can then adhere to the heart valves or lining of the heart, causing infection, also known as endocarditis. Individuals with existing heart conditions are at a greater risk for developing endocarditis. [1] There is also some evidence supporting the connection between poor oral health and heart disease, stroke, or blocked arteries. [2] Be sure to let your dentist know if you have any underlying heart conditions.

Respiratory Infections

As a result of poor dental health, there is potential for oral bacteria to be aspirated into the lungs. This inhaling of germs into the lungs can lead to bacterial pneumonia. [3] Lung infections can be uncomfortable and difficult to treat.


Individuals with diabetes are at an increased risk for gum disease. Uncontrolled or poorly managed diabetics have excess glucose in their system. This means that a significant amount of sugar is present in the saliva. This sugar in the oral cavity promotes the growth of harmful bacteria, which can lead to gingivitis. Inflamed or infected gums can subsequently make managing diabetes more challenging as more inflammation in the body causes an increase in blood sugar. [4] If you are diabetic, it is especially critical to maintain good gum health to properly regulate your diabetes.

Pregnancy Complications

Pregnancy increases the risk of gingivitis. Approximately 60 to 75% of pregnant women experience inflamed gums. [5] This risk is a result of the fluctuating hormones during gestation. Continue scheduling routine dental cleanings throughout pregnancy to ensure good oral health. Remain in close contact with your dentist to treat signs of gingivitis or report any other abnormalities.

Some literature suggests a correlation between poor periodontal health and poor pregnancy outcomes, including premature birth. [6]


Researchers suggest that a particular species of bacteria typically associated with gum disease can enter the bloodstream and travels to the brain, causing cognitive dysfunction. This bacteria has been linked with Alzheimer’s and dementia. [7]

Ways to Protect Your Oral Health

There are a few simple steps you can implement immediately to promote good dental health:

  • Schedule routine dental cleanings and exams with your dentist
  • Thoroughly brush twice daily
  • Floss twice each day
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Avoid tobacco products

Protect Both Your Dental and Overall Health With Quality Care from Empire Dental Care

Take action today to improve your oral and overall health. As part of your routine dental appointment, our qualified team will gently clean your teeth of any bacteria buildup. At Empire Dental Care, we aim to help you lead a life of wellness, beginning with your dental care. If you are ready to schedule your next appointment or have questions, contact us today to speak to our caring staff. 585.671.1650




Dr. Cohen has been practicing dentistry in private and public settings for over 10 years, completing her DMD degree in 2010 at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Committed to providing dental care of the highest level, Dr. Cohen relocated to Rochester in 2016 to pursue advanced dental trainings at the Dental Urgent Care Fellowship at The University of Rochester, Eastman Institute for Oral Health, graduating in 2017, and the AEGD Residency program in 2019. She recently completed an additional advanced General Practice Residency program at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany NY. This summer she moved back to Rochester with her husband Kevin, a native Rochesterian, to be closer to family. Throughout her career and personal life, Dr. Cohen has shown her genuine compassion and care to people and patients from all walks of life. She volunteered in underserved areas, practiced in clinics for patients with complex special needs, and treated medically compromised patients among others. She also taught and mentored other dentists and students helping them achieve their professional and personal goals. Most of all, Dr. Cohen’s warm personality and love of people create a welcoming, comfortable feeling for both patients and staff.