Can Brushing Your Teeth Improve Your Overall Health?

Risks Associated with Poor Oral Hygiene
Dental plaque and its relationship with atherosclerosis
Hospital-prone pneumonia and oral hygiene
Read further

The common understanding of oral hygiene, as most of the population envisions it, is that the crucial oral cavity we need to protect is from the top of the crown to the bottom. This is far from the case.

The idea that our teeth can influence our entire anatomy is both true and something that is widely overlooked. If a person succumbs to a sufficiently severe periodontitis or other types of bacterial infection, a more serious prognosis can develop, linking oral health to overall health.

Image Credit: 279photo Studio/Shutterstock

The school of dentistry includes periodontics, endodontics, and other forms of oral pathology specializing in dental diseases, especially those that affect the enamel and dentin, as well as the supporting structures. These specialists have led to the exposition of oral health and its link to heart disease, cancer and other diseases.

Risks Associated with Poor Oral Hygiene

Over time, and if bacterial damage or oral hypoxemia occurs to the periodontal ligament, the gums themselves, or other supporting structures, it can lead to premature tooth loss. While losing a tooth is harmful enough, the resulting cavity can act as a gateway for other pathogens, which can affect the rest of the human body.

Some dentists make bigger claims, stating that they can get a good summary of a person’s overall health based solely on their teeth. This may turn out to be more than just an anecdote, as oral hygiene is increasingly associated with diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

From paper like that of Juxiang Peng et al., we are shown firsthand that treating periodontitis at earlier stages directly correlates with the later reduction in coronary heart disease. Infectious agents found in the oral cavity reflect a decrease in the observed white blood cell count and a decrease in serum albumin. Many believe that gum disease of this nature only affects geriatrics and those of an older generation. This is only because these plaques and chronic infections have been given time to develop, although the degree of infection or inflammation varies widely and can affect each generation.

It is important to emphasize that there are numerous studies linking atherosclerosis and plaque-related conditions to cancer, rather than a direct cause and effect.

Image Credit: Monkey Business Images/ShutterstockImage Credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Dental plaque and its relationship with atherosclerosis

A well-known example of a condition associated with tooth infection is atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a form of heart disease that consists of plaques that build up around the arterial lining, which are needed to supply arterial blood to the heart and muscles. If time goes by and this waste and damage to surrounding tissue is not treated, chronic plaque build-up can develop and blood supply can be constricted and the amount of oxygenated blood delivered to smooth muscle and heart muscle can be reduced. limited.

What’s interesting is that the plaque that forms around the heart is analogous to that around the teeth, which comes from the same kind of bacteria, which generate the same kind of chemical waste through their cell membrane and affect the surrounding environment.

Related: Nutrition and Oral Hygiene

In the oral cavity and surrounding tissues, this chronic buildup of plaque will start the process of inflammation, which can later lead to the slow erosion of bone. Once it has reached this stage and is symptomatic, the damage may not be reversible. This plaque can clot and cause an infection under the gums.

Within the mouth, there are substructures that keep the teeth tight and secure. These are the gums and bone. As soon as a tooth infection in the bacterial strain in question occurs, whether it is? streptococci lactobacillior others, it can migrate to these adjacent structures.

A common symptom of these infections is tooth brushing, followed by subsequent bleeding as soon as a person rinses their mouth. What makes this case more prominent than other common conditions is the fact that these infections may not even hurt and cannot register with a person’s pain receptors. With this phenotype in mind, scientists such as Juxiang Peng et al† have begun to study correlations between tooth loss and mortality. They plan to develop new ways to treat periodontitis, which in turn could reduce the severity of atherosclerosis.

Hospital-prone pneumonia and oral hygiene

Addressing this problem of poor hygiene directly demonstrates evidence of increased quality of life and longer life. A study by Chastity Warren shows that the condition of toothbrushes in hospitals is linked to the spread of pneumonia, a common problem that still affects us today.

Assays show a decrease in patients with non-ventilated care-related pneumonia (NV-HAP) and patients with ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), followed by early treatment of periodontal disease. Within a study of 202 patients, a statistically significant reduction in the number of patients with death associated with NV-HAP decreased from 20 in the baseline group to 4 in the intervention group (χ(2) = 4.33, df = 1, P = 0.037). Parallel to this negative trend, NV-HAP discharges were found to be 2.84 in the baseline group and 1.41 in the intervention group.

Image Credit: Billion Photos/ShutterstockImage Credit: Billion Photos/Shutterstock


  • Meurman JH, Sanz M, Janket SJ. Oral health, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Crit Rev Oral Biol Med. Nov 1, 2004;15(6):403-13
  • Warren C, Medei MK, Wood B, Schutte D. A nurse-driven oral care protocol to reduce hospital-acquired pneumonia. Ben J Nurs. 2019 February;119(2):44-51
  • Aas, JA, Griffen, AL, Dardis, SR, Lee, AM, Olsen, I., Dewhirst, FE, Leys, EJ, & Paster, BJ (2008). Bacteria of dental caries in primary and permanent teeth in children and young adults. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 46(4), 1407-1417.
  • Peng, J., Song, J., Han, J., Chen, Z., Yin, X., Zhu, J., & Song, J. (2019). The relationship between tooth loss and all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease in the general population: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Life Science Reports, 39(1), BSR20181773.

Read further

Leave a Comment