Diseases Linked to Dental Health

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Diseases Linked to Dental Health

Complete health has revolutionized the way dentists and physicians care for their patients, addressing the link between oral and systemic health. The mouth is the leading entryway for bacteria to make their way through the body systems' various tracts.
Understanding the oral-systemic link and preventative treatments can greatly enhance your health and well-being. Complete health dentistry is available at Hatcher Dental Studio in Phoenix and the surrounding area. Our staff can help you better understand the oral-systemic health connection.

dentist smiling at patient

Habitual vs. Genetic Reasons for Oral Conditions

A number of oral health conditions stem from habit and behavior. The leading causes of many oral concerns are smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor nutrition, and inadequate brushing, flossing, and rinsing. Genetics also plays a role in oral health conditions, ranging from hereditary traits to behaviors during pregnancy.


Diseases linked

Heart Conditions

Heart Disease: Poor oral health increases the risk of bacteria and infection entering the bloodstream, particularly affecting patients with artificial heart valves. Endocarditis: Bacteria, fungi, infections, and viruses attach to certain parts of the heart and clog the heart chambers or valves (endocardium).

The Gut and Immune Systems

Gut Health: The intestinal tract is a leading pathway for microbes and bacteria to enter the gut and many other body systems.Immunodeficiencies: Refer to over three hundred diseases that affect the body’s defense or immune systems, such as HIV/AIDS and Down syndrome. Many of these diseases are primarily genetic, but poor oral hygiene plays a major role.

Effects During Pregnancy

Premature Birth: As bacteria enter the body through the oral cavity, various tracts lead to the womb and affect the fetus.Low Birth Weight: Women who have periodontal disease have also been linked to higher rates of premature birth and low birth weight.


Treatments for Those Suffering


A basic understanding of the oral-systemic connection is integral in addressing health conditions and their effects on the body. A well-balanced, healthy lifestyle consists of a diet low in sugar and high in fruits and vegetables, cutting out all forms of tobacco, reducing alcohol intake, and brushing teeth twice daily with an optimal amount of fluoride (1000 to 1500 ppm). Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that protects the tooth's enamel and is crucial for maintaining good oral hygiene.


Minor treatments, such as cavities and caries, require minimally-invasive treatments that remove the infection or decay and are covered with a filling, crown, or sealant. More invasive procedures, such as flap surgery, bone grafting, extractions, and implants, are performed for gum disease, oral cancers, flap disease, or other severe conditions. The earlier a condition is diagnosed, the more effective and successful the treatment is.


FAQ's About Diseases Linked to Dental Health

hands showing a model of a tooth
  • What are the early indicators of dental problems?

    Many dental problems are first indicated by a sudden feeling of discomfort, pain, or bleeding. Patients also complain from soreness, inflammation, or swelling when a particular area or tooth hurts. They may also experience jaw or gum pain, dry mouth, bad breath, and increased sensitivity to hot and cold.

  • Are flossing and rinsing an essential part of oral care?

    Contrary to popular belief, flossing is as important as brushing your teeth. Food particles remain between the teeth and gum line and are often left behind after brushing. These particles build up plaque and cause bacteria to collect in the gums, causing infection. Rinsing with a non-alcohol mouthwash is important to clear all remaining bacteria.

  • If I had dental problems pre-pregnancy and had treatment, are there still risks for my baby?

    Untreated dental problems during pregnancy are of primary concern as bacteria travel through the bloodstream and into the womb. However, treated dental problems and proper hygiene maintenance throughout pregnancy have shown positive outcomes in the baby’s health. There are genetic factors that can play into the fetus’ oral health without complications or dental issues during pregnancy.

  • How is smoking a factor in the oral-systemic connection?

    Tobacco products affect all body systems, including the oral cavity. Smoking not only impacts the mouth because of its numerous chemicals but also allows bacteria to flow through many other body systems. Smoking also limits saliva flow, causing bacteria to stick to the teeth and gums, building plaque and infections.

  • What diseases contribute to bad oral health?

    Diabetes is a common disease that affects oral health as diabetes slows down the healing process and may make treatment more difficult. Heart disease is another contributing factor as the immune system becomes weaker. Immunodeficiencies, such as HIV or down syndrome, also affect oral health as the body’s defenses are less alert and do not fight off oral bacteria.