Ignoring your dental problems can lead to more than just a toothache or cavity in the long run. Believe it or not, there is a direct correlation between your oral hygiene and overall health. Dental checkups can feel like a burden – especially when your time and money is limited. However, going to the dentist just a couple times a year can make a significant difference in your life.

Dental Problems & Potential Health Complications

Heart complications: Bacteria resulting from bad oral hygiene can enter your bloodstream, leading to health risks that are much more serious in nature. Gum infections, specifically gingivitis and periodontal disease, can generate bacteria that blocks your blood flow and leads to clogged arteries. If enough bacteria gets into your bloodstream and/or arteries, you can develop heart complications like cardiovascular disease. It can also increase your chance of suffering from a stroke. If you’re noticing signs of a gum infection, like tender gums or persistent bad breath, make sure you pay your dentist a visit.

Respiratory problems: Harmful bacteria can also get into your lungs when you are breathing.  When you procrastinate on getting dental work done, you are allowing respiratory pathogens to build up in your mouth. When these pathogens make their way down into your lungs, it can lead to serious respiratory infections and limit your ability to breathe. If you are someone who is vulnerable to respiratory infections, you should take extra care with your oral hygiene to protect your overall wellness.

Fertility and pregnancy complications: If you’re trying to get pregnant or already are, it’s crucial that you take care of your dental health. Poor oral hygiene can make it more challenging for a woman to conceive and lengthen the time it takes to do so. Additionally, gum disease can cause health problems during a pregnancy that are dangerous for mother and child.  It may lead to a premature birth, resulting in the baby having immature lungs, trouble feeding and breathing, and several other complications. Be sure to keep your teeth, gums, and the rest of your body has healthy as possible if a new family addition is in your plans.

Increased risk of diabetes: Dental problems and diabetes are a two-way street. Gum infections can cause or worsen diabetes, and diabetes can increase a patient’s risk of gum disease. Bacteria generated by the gums can travel into the bloodstream, causing blood glucose (blood sugar) levels to spike. High blood glucose can lead to heart complications, kidney disease, nerve damage, and more. If you already have diabetes, you will need to raise your dental care standards to ensure you are fighting off harmful bacteria. Talk with your dentist about the medications you are taking, your dental care habits, and any lifestyle changes.

A Small Price to Pay

It should be apparent by now that all areas of our body are connected in one way or another. Watch out for early signs of gum disease that could negatively impact other aspects of your health. The next time you are tempted to skip your dental appointment, you may want to think twice. Investing in your oral hygiene now will prevent more serious problems from developing and improve your overall health for years to come.  Just think of how much time and money you will save in the long-run by staying proactive with your dental checkups.