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Oral Health and Your Overall Health

Did you know that you can’t be healthy without good oral health? Oral health is vital to our overall health. It affects our ability to talk, eat healthy foods, do our job, learn at school, and socialize with others.  Oral health can impact your quality of life in every way.

Poor oral health can have a major impact on other diseases and conditions that  you may have. For example, people with poor oral health may have more trouble managing their diabetes or high blood pressure. In addition, people with certain chronic diseases are more likely to have serious gum disease that can lead to tooth loss. The table below shows the impact of certain chronic diseases on severe tooth loss.

Severe Tooth Loss and Chronic Diseases Inforgraphic

Listed below are links to resources that will tell you more about the impact of oral health on your overall health.

Oral Health and Chronic Diseases

Chronic diseases include those physical or mental health conditions that last more than a year and require ongoing treatment or limit activities of daily living, or both. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic diseases are very common in the United States; 6 out of 10 adults have one chronic disease, while 4 out of 10 have two or more.

Poor oral health can have an impact on several chronic conditions. The following links provide important information on chronic diseases and their connection to oral health.



Heart Disease/Stroke

Lung Disease

Rheumatoid Arthritis


Oral Health and Prenatal Care

Oral health should be a routine part of prenatal care for pregnant women as poor oral health can lead to poor health outcomes for the mother and her baby. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to 75% of women develop gingivitis during pregnancy due primarily to hormonal changes. Left unchecked, gingivitis can progress to periodontal disease which affects up to 40% of all pregnant women. There also may be a possible link between gum disease and preterm births, low birthweight babies and preeclampsia; however, further research is needed in these areas.

The oral health of mothers directly impacts the oral health of their children. Babies are not born with the bacteria that causes tooth decay in their mouth. Those bacteria are transmitted, usually by the mother, through kissing, the use of shared eating utensils, or other common behaviors.

Listed below are links to resources with more information about oral health and pregnancy.

Oral Health and Pregnancy Resources for Patients

Oral Health and Pregnancy Resources for Providers

Oral Health, Dementia, and Mental Illness

Studies suggest a link between oral health and dementia. Poor oral health, such as cavities, gum disease and tooth loss are more commonly found in older adults. They are also more likely to have cognitive impairment or dementia and may be at increased risk with each missing tooth.

Research has also suggested that people with anxiety or depression can also experience a decline in their oral health. Listed below is information to help you better understand these connections and learn what you can do about them.    


For patients

  1. Tooth Loss in Older Adults Linked to Higher Risk of Dementia
  2. Good Oral Health May Help Protect Against Alzheimer’s

For professionals

  1. Large study links gum disease with dementia
  2. Alzheimer’s Association: Dental Care
  3. A Deep Dive into the Connections Between Oral and Behavioral Health


For patients

  1. The Connection Between Oral and Mental Health
  2. Depression and Your Oral Health, Your Mouth and Your Mental Health are Related

For professionals

  1. The Connection Between Oral Health and Mental Health
  2. A Deep Dive into the Connections Between Oral and Behavioral Health