Girl smiling outside with healthy gums

We all know oral health is important, but did you know that having a healthy mouth can help keep the rest of your body healthy too? 

Good oral hygiene habits, like daily brushing & flossing & cleanings from your dentist every six months, can help maintain your oral health. But without these habits, you’re more likely to develop infections, such as tooth decay, gum disease & more.

Oral Health & Overall Health

Your mouth is full of mostly harmless bacteria, but because your mouth is an entry point to your respiratory & digestive tracts, it’s important to keep this bacteria under control. Allowing the bacteria in your mouth to multiply can lead to infections such as tooth decay & gum disease. 

Tooth decay & gum disease are bad enough on their own—they cause pain & sensitivity & might require expensive dental work if they aren’t dealt with promptly. But oral infections can also use up limited immune system resources, leaving the rest of your body more vulnerable to other diseases. Additionally, studies suggest that oral bacteria & gum disease can play a role in certain diseases, like endocarditis, cardiovascular disease, low birth weight, pneumonia & other respiratory infections.

Plus, some diseases that lower your immune system can make oral health problems even worse. People with diabetes, osteoporosis, HIV/AIDS & Alzheimer’s disease are at greater risk for oral health problems. And these oral health problems can still lower your immune systems & contribute to other diseases listed above, so if you already have a lowered immune system, it’s especially important to take care of your oral health.

Reducing Your Risk

These health complications may sound scary, but you can easily reduce your risk by properly maintaining your oral health. Simply brushing & flossing your teeth every day is enough to greatly lower your chances of developing oral health problems. Visiting the dentist twice a year can also help make sure any issues that do arise are treated before they become too expensive or painful. Plus, taking care of your oral health keeps your smile looking great!

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