How Tooth Decay Can Cause Other Health Problems

Poor oral hygiene can wreak chaos inside your mouth because it can result in tooth decay. Did you know it can also impact your overall health? Adequate oral care not only gives you a bright smile, but it also improves the rest of your body’s health.

Find out more about tooth decay.

What Is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay is damage to a tooth’s surface, also known as the enamel. It occurs when the bacteria in your mouth produce acids that attack your enamel. Untreated tooth decay can result in mouth pain and infection, and its effects can spread to the rest of your body; this can lead to heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and other conditions.

Discover more about the correlation between tooth decay and your overall health.

Heart Attacks and Strokes

If you fail to brush and floss your teeth daily, it may lead to plaque build-up. Plaque is a sticky film that forms on your teeth and contains millions of bacteria. Believe it or not, too much of it can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Most people are under the false impression that only cholesterol can lead to blocked arteries. Still, research by the American Heart Association proves the bacteria in plaque contributes to artery blockage. It can get into your bloodstream and may clog your heart’s arteries, which can result in a heart attack or stroke.


If you have diabetes, tooth decay can aggravate it. If left untreated, it can lead to gum inflammation, also known as periodontitis. Periodontitis is a serious health condition in which the gums become inflamed to the point where they start pulling away from teeth and
form gaps.

Unfortunately, these gaps usually become infected. If you have diabetes, an infection can make it difficult for your body to absorb insulin medication. Without insulin, your blood sugar levels may remain perpetually low. High blood sugar can exacerbate oral infections, which results in more inflammation; it’s a vicious cycle you may not be able to break from.

For these reasons, it’s detrimental for people with diabetes to maintain good oral health.

Can Tooth Decay Affect My Pregnancy?

Expecting mothers know they need to take prenatal vitamins, avoid certain foods and drinks, and frequently visit their doctor for check-ups. If you’re pregnant, you’re likely not thinking about your oral health because there are several other items you need to take care of. However, you should prioritize your oral health for the sake of your baby’s wellbeing.

An increase in pregnancy hormones can negatively impact your oral health, particularly if you already have existing problems such as tooth decay. If your tooth decay results in periodontitis, it can put your baby at risk of being born prematurely or underweight. Maintaining excellent oral health can protect you and your baby, so in addition to seeing your gynecologist, you should visit your dentist.

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

Brushing and flossing your teeth is the best way to prevent tooth decay. However, if your dentist determines you have tooth decay and it’s lead to other oral problems, you may need surgery. The board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah specialize in dental implants, tooth extraction, impacted canines, and other procedures. Schedule your consultation today.

How Tooth Decay Can Cause Other Health Problems