Health Risks Associated with Poor Oral Hygiene

Most people believe that brushing teeth helps avoid cavities, odour and keep a dazzling smile. However, poor dental hygiene has profound health effects that go beyond stains and bad breath. Health experts cite that good dental hygiene should be a daily routine that is cultivated from one’s early childhood. Research shows that the human mouth harbours more than 600 different strains of bacteria. The organisms form tiny colonies that cause health problems. The most common health conditions that develop as a result of poor dental hygiene are porphyromonas gingivalis and streptococcus mutans. Porphyromonas gingivalis is associated with periodontitis, a progressive gum disease that causes loss of teeth and pain. Streptococcus mutans, on the other hand, feed on starches and sugars in the mouth, producing acid that erodes the enamel and makes your teeth susceptible to decay. The text further explains other risks of not taking care of your teeth properly.

Gum Disease

Most people experience bleeding when brushing teeth, which is a sign of gum disease. Most patients visiting Pure Dentistry have mild gingivitis which often manifests this way, though other individuals develop red and swollen gums. Bacteria buildup develops into plaque, which accumulates between the gums and the teeth. If plaque spreads, the immune response amplifies and can destroy the bones and tissues in the mouth.


Researchers add that diabetes is a risk factor for periodontitis. Research shows that poor dental hygiene is also a risk factor for insulin resistance, mainly because it increases inflammation. The study further shows that patients with both conditions can control diabetic symptoms by treating periodontitis.

Bad Breath

It is a condition called halitosis and is often caused by poor oral hygiene. Food particles that linger for extended periods in the mouth cause malodorous bacteria to build up in the mouth. The coating on the tongue also contributes to bad breath.

Coronary Artery Disease

People who have developed gum disease are twice as likely to develop this condition. Experts believe that the bacteria entering the mouth also flow to the bloodstream. It attaches to plaque in the arteries, causing inflammation and increasing the patient’s risk of developing blockages and clots that lead to heart attacks. However, in 2012, researchers explained that periodontal disease does not cause heart disease directly; other underlying factors lead to the development of the condition.


Bacteria buildup as a result of poor oral hygiene is inhaled into the lungs, causing respiratory problems like pneumonia. Studies show that patients who improved their oral health reduced pneumonia cases by 40%. Another study conducted at a Brazilian hospital revealed that patients with periodontitis were three times more likely to develop pneumonia.


This finding was a result of a long-term study of the residents of the Laguna Hills retirement community. Researchers conducting the study wanted to find out the connection between dementia and poor oral health. The study revealed that patients who still had teeth increased the risk of developing dementia by 22% to 65% if they did not brush daily. Additionally, the brains of patients who had Alzheimer’s had more bacteria associated with gum disease than those associated with cognition problems.