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7 Areas of Your Life Affected By Oral Hygiene

Updated on December 11, 2015

What if I told you that cavities are maybe the least of your oral hygiene concerns?

Sure, they’re annoying and no one likes getting injected with Novocain.

But when it gets right down to it, your oral hygiene affects much more than just your teeth.

Many people are aware of the effects that not brushing can have on them or what it can lead to.

Things like root canals, fillings, implants, and even dentures are all commonly done dental procedures.

However, the bigger picture stuff—things like your cardiovascular health—are practically never mentioned when it comes to your teeth.

Take a look at these common side effects of poor dental hygiene on your body to see why you should take up brushing more often.


Also known as “chronic bad breath”, halitosis is one of the most common side effects of poor oral hygiene on your body. Okay, okay, we’ve all fallen prey to the occasional “morning breath” but halitosis is like having morning breath all day, all night, and no matter how hard you try to get rid of it. When food particles become stuck in your mouth, they begin to rot, and while tiny pieces of food won’t cause you to smell like a dumpster, the chemicals they emit will. Chemicals like sulfur give off that distinctive rotten egg smell that you’re so familiar with, and often characterize the scent of someone suffering from halitosis. Following a brushing pattern of twice a day, along with your tongue, and flossing can help keep halitosis at bay.

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Periodontal Disease

Another common side effect of poor oral hygiene is periodontal disease. This disease has become so prevalent that something like a quarter of adults over the age of sixty-five suffer from it. When periodontal disease takes hold of your mouth, it is pretty much impossible to shake. Over time, as bacteria eats away at your teeth, it begins to erode the bone around the teeth, causing deterioration. This then leads to tooth loss, decay, and infection. Depending on the level of decay, your dentist might be able to offer you titanium steel implants that look and act as your real teeth. However, if the decay has become too much for your mouth to handle and repair is unlikely, then you may require a full or partial set of dentures to give you back the look and feel of real teeth.

Heart Disease

Now you may be wondering what I’m talking about. You might even think I’m crazy. Heart disease? All from a poor dental hygiene? To this I say, “You betcha’”. Bacteria and plaque breaking down the enamel and eroding the bones cause periodontal disease. Yet, as your bones break down, even more bacteria and plaque is released into the blood stream through your gums. This in turn leads to bacteria and plaque buildup in the heart, making it twice as likely that you’ll develop heart disease and develop complications that can be life-threatening. I’ll bet you’re starting to look at your toothbrush and that unopened back of floss a little differently now, huh?

Respiratory Issues

Near the heart you’ll find a set of lungs that can just as easily be affected by poor oral hygiene. Your lungs rely on purity to maintain their strength and produce oxygen for your body as efficiently as possible. However, when this is threatened then they begin to grow weak, leaving you with blocked airways, and trouble breathing. How does oral hygiene play into this? Well, much like with your heart, the break down of bacteria and plaque that is released into the bloodstream can take root and stay in the lungs. As bacteria collects, complications arise. Respiratory issues are especially likely in patients who already experience some level of respiratory distress, but can still affect those with a healthy pair of lungs.

What Is Plaque?

I’ve talked a lot about plaque and how it has a detrimental affect on your body. But what exactly is it?

  • In your teeth and mouth, plaque is buildup that is home to millions of bacteria
  • In your body plaque is the buildup of bacteria that grows, potentially stopping blood flow in certain areas
  • Its growth is slow and controlled, leading to increased blockages around the body, eventually stopping blood from passing, or rupturing leading to heart attacks and stroke


I know you’re probably used to hearing people discuss plaque about your teeth—maybe you’ve even heard it once or twice when talking about your heart. For the most part plaque buildup is limited to these two areas, unless of course, you’re having problems with your oral hygiene and then you might hear it in response to atherosclerosis. This occurs when high levels of bacteria clog the Carthoid Artery, which in turn leads to an increased possibility of stroke. A stroke is caused by built up plaque that suddenly ruptures allowing blood to clot inside of this artery, cutting off blood supply to the brain.


Diabetes and oral hygiene kind of go hand-in-hand with each other. Because people with diabetes have problems with glucose control, bacteria are capable of settling into the gums much more easily than those without. This, in turn, creates problems with plaque and gingivitis, which create further complications (see above) in your body. For this reason, something like 95% of people suffering from diabetes have complications with gum and periodontal diseases. That is not to say that you’re a lost cause for gum disease if you have diabetes, it just means that oral hygiene will need to be a little tighter and more frequently addressed than those without. Try discussing a plan of action with your dentist to see if they have any advice for how to decrease the possibility of gum disease in your situation.

Your Dating Life

Before you think I’m joking, think about this: everything mentioned above can have a serious detrimental effect on your life, period. Halitosis, for obvious reasons, can leave you without a date, but everything else can affect your health so badly that you might be too sick to think about dating. Add to this that the periodontal bacteria that can do so much damage elsewhere also can cause problems with erectile dysfunction, making it increasingly difficult to lead a normal life. By encouraging and fostering a home where you practice great oral hygiene, you will help bring about a healthier and more fulfilling life for you and your family.

Good Oral Hygiene Users

  • Brush their teeth twice daily
  • Floss their teeth once daily
  • Brush their tongue frequently (once daily at least)
  • Swish with a fluoride mouthwash before bed and after brushing and flossing

What diseases do you know of that are affected by oral hygiene?

Comment below with your advice for maintaining a healthier lifestyle!


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    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      Wow, I didn't realize this could affect your body in so many ways. Good information to know and to inform your family about proper care.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for sharing the very important information about the ways in which poor oral hygiene can affect other parts of the body, Kelsey!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Very informative and well written.

    • Kelsey Farrell profile image

      Kelsey Elise Farrell 2 years ago from Orange County, CA

      MsDora, Thank you for popping by! Oral hygiene makes me a nervous wreck, which is why I try to be as proactive as possible!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Quite revealing! Thank you for all this important information of which we all need to be aware.