How Good Oral Hygiene Can Improve Your Overall Health and Wellness

Dentists take care of your mouth, and medical doctors take care of your body. It may never occur to you that the two systems are connected. What you learn here may surprise you.


Dr. Wendy Mayer at Mayer Dental Care in Midtown West, New York, understands the symbiotic relationship between dental care and overall wellness, and she’s committed to caring for the whole person. Here are a few of the health conditions linked to your oral hygiene.


Since diabetes reduces your resistance to infection, it may allow gum disease, known as gingivitis, to take hold. Gingivitis is also connected to poor blood sugar control, so if you have diabetes, you may have gum disease as well. That’s why proper oral hygiene is an especially important part of your diabetes treatment.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease, and so is gingivitis. The reason for the link isn’t clear, but the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society confirms that people with gum disease are four times more likely to have rheumatoid arthritis.

Heart disease

When you have gingivitis or its more advanced stage called periodontitis, the bacteria can enter your bloodstream and lead to atherosclerosis, or hardened arteries. Atherosclerosis is a major contributing factor in heart attacks, strokes, and endocarditis (infection of the heart lining).


Another danger of gum disease is cancer — specifically, kidney and pancreatic cancer. Although there’s no guaranteed way of preventing these serious forms of cancer, we know that practicing good oral hygiene can give you a definite advantage and reduce your risk of developing these conditions.

Reproductive issues

Infections in the gums that enter the bloodstream can inflame blood vessels and make it difficult for men to get and maintain an erection.

Women with gum disease may have more trouble becoming pregnant than those with healthy gums. 

The healthier your teeth and gums, the better your chances of carrying your child to full term. Periodontitis and gingivitis are both connected to low birth weights and premature birth.

Focus and memory

Remembering to brush and floss may improve your overall memory. Studies show that people with healthy gums score higher on memory and cognitive skills tests than those with gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease.

Respiratory infections

When bacteria from your mouth travels to other parts of the body, it weakens your immune system and puts several vital systems at risk, including your lungs. Compromised immunity coupled with bacteria in your blood can lead to pneumonia, bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The link between gum disease and your overall health is clear, as should be the need to maintain excellent oral hygiene. If you haven’t had a check-up for a while or you have questions about your oral health, give us a call, or book an appointment online at Mayer Dental Care.

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