The Connection Between Oral Health & Overall Health

oral healthYour oral health is directly connected to your overall health. The mouth is the “window” into health of the entire body, which is why it’s so important that you practice good dental hygiene!

What is the connection between oral health and overall health?

The mouth is the entry point to both your digestive and respiratory systems. If you do not take care of your dental hygiene, both systems can be affected. 

The mouth, like any other part of the body, has (mostly healthy) bacteria in it. However, if the mouth is not taken care of properly, more harmful bacteria can enter the body, causing overall health issues. 

What conditions have a positive correlation with poor oral health?

    • Endocarditis. This is an inflammation in a heart’s inner lining, which is typically caused by bacteria. Symptoms may include heart murmur, fever or chills, nigh sweats, muscle or joint pain, and shortness of breath.
    • Cardiovascular disease. This refers to several conditions such as: heart disease, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, arrhythmia, and heart valve problems. 
    • Pregnancy and birth complications. Poor oral health can lead to periodontitis, which is a severe gum infection that can lead to tooth loss. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
    • Pneumonia. Since the mouth is also connected to the respiratory system, some bacteria can be pulled into the lungs and cause pneumonia and/or other respiratory diseases.

How can I improve my oral health?

Knowing all the different conditions that are linked to poor dental health is scary, but there are certain steps you can take to improve your oral health, such as:

    • Brushing your teeth thoroughly twice per day
    • Cleaning between your teeth with floss at least once per day
    • Using a mouthwash as recommended by your dentist
    • Eating a balanced diet
    • Scheduling regular dental checkups


Temple Family Dentistry is a private dentistry practice that has been servicing the Temple, PA community for several decades. We pride ourselves on making our patients feel at home in our dentist’s office from the moment they walk through our doors. Dr. Dan and his team provide much more than basic dental care. In addition to your bi-annual cleanings, we also offer extractions, root canals, dental implants, dentures, and more, based on your individualized treatment plan. You will never feel like a number here, and we are happy to take the time needed to answer your questions and ensure your satisfaction. For your convenience, we offer flexible hours and accept same-day appointments for dental emergencies.