What Kind of Health Problems Can Bad Teeth Cause?

24 / 04 / 2024

At Big Smiles Dental, we understand that maintaining a healthy smile goes beyond just aesthetics. Your oral health is a crucial indicator of your overall well-being. This article will explore the significant health issues that can arise from poor dental hygiene and why it is essential to maintain good oral care.

Can Bad Teeth Cause Health Problems?

Yes, absolutely. Bad teeth can seriously harm your overall health, not just your mouth. Decay, infections, gum disease, and missing teeth can harbour harmful bacteria. These bacteria can spread from your mouth to other parts of your body through your bloodstream, worsening or triggering systemic health problems.

The Connection Between Oral Health and General Health

Oral health and general health are more interconnected than most people realise. The mouth serves as a gateway to the body, making it a focal point for bacteria — both harmless and harmful. Without proper oral hygiene, these bacteria can lead to dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease, and significantly impact overall health.

Studies have linked poor oral health to several severe health conditions. 

For example, ongoing research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries, and stroke might correlate with the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause. Furthermore, oral health is especially crucial during pregnancy, as gum disease has been associated with premature birth and low birth weight. Respiratory conditions, including pneumonia, can also be exacerbated by bacteria entering the lungs from the mouth.

How Can Bad Teeth Affect Your Health?

The effect of bad teeth on your health is significant and complex. Oral bacteria and inflammation from severe gum disease can worsen chronic conditions. This is especially harmful for those with inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease.

Oral infections also complicate diabetes management. Gum disease makes controlling blood sugar levels harder, creating a cycle where poor blood sugar control leads to more severe gum problems. This cycle complicates diabetes management and increases the risk of further complications.

Good Teeth vs Bad Teeth

Good Teeth Bad Teeth
Colour White or off-white without many discolorations Yellow or brown stains, visible cavities
Alignment Well-aligned, straight and evenly spaced Crooked, overcrowded, or large gaps
Integrity No chips, cracks, or visible damage Chips, cracks, or parts of the tooth may be broken off
Chewing Makes it easy to chew food properly Can make it hard to chew, might avoid certain foods
Speaking Helps in speaking clearly, without difficulty Can cause difficulties in speaking clearly
Comfort (Pain) No pain or discomfort Often causes pain or sensitivity (hot, cold, sweet)
Gums Pink and firm, not swollen, red, or bleeding Swollen, red, or bleed easily (signs of gum disease)
Breath Smell Neutral-smelling breath Foul odour indicating bacterial growth or tooth decay
Bleeding During Brushing/Flossing No blood when brushing or flossing Bleeding during brushing or flossing (sign of gingivitis or harsh brushing)

Specific Health Risks Associated with Poor Oral Hygiene

  1. Cardiovascular Disease: The inflammation and infections caused by periodontitis (a severe form of gum disease) may contribute to the development of heart conditions.
  2. Pregnancy Complications: Periodontitis is notably linked to not only premature birth but also low birth weight, posing risks to both mother and child.
  3. Respiratory Diseases: Oral bacteria can be aspirated into the lungs, leading to pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.
  4. Heart Disease and Stroke: Research suggests a link between oral infections caused by poor dental health, such as periodontitis, and heart disease. The inflammation and infections that bad teeth cause can contribute to the clogging of arteries, potentially leading to heart attacks and strokes.
  5. Diabetes Management: For those battling diabetes, bad teeth can complicate the management of blood sugar levels. Gum disease can heighten blood sugar, posing significant risks and making diabetes more challenging to control.
  6. Dementia: There is emerging evidence that suggests a potential link between poor oral health and dementia. The bacteria from gingivitis may enter the brain through nerve channels or the bloodstream, potentially leading to Alzheimer’s disease.

These associations highlight the importance of good oral hygiene not only for maintaining dental health but also for protecting your overall health.

Preventative Measures

Understanding the risks associated with bad teeth, it is crucial to discuss preventative measures. Maintaining good dental health involves several routine practices that can significantly reduce the risk of developing both dental and systemic health issues:

  • Routine Dental Checkups: Regular visits to the dentist for checkups and cleanings are crucial. These visits allow for the early detection and treatment of problems before they develop further.
  • Proper Brushing and Flossing: Brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily help reduce plaque build-up and the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
  • Healthy Diet: Eating a balanced diet and limiting sugar intake can prevent tooth decay and promote overall health.

At Big Smiles Dental, we offer comprehensive preventative care to help maintain your oral health and, by extension, your general health.

Dental Treatments for Common Problems

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, dental issues can arise that require professional intervention.

Understanding the treatments available for common dental problems can help in making informed decisions about oral health care:

  • Restoring Missing Teeth: Options such as implants, bridges, and dentures can help restore the functionality and appearance of your smile. Learn more about restoring missing teeth.
  • Cavities and Tooth Decay: Treatment for cavities typically involves white fillings, which restore the integrity of the tooth while matching its natural colour.
  • Advanced Gum Disease: In cases where gum disease has progressed significantly, procedures like scaling and root planing or even dental extraction may be necessary.

Additionally, for those seeking to improve the alignment of their teeth, our orthodontics services offer solutions that contribute to both the aesthetics and functionality of your teeth.


At Big Smiles Dental, we emphasise the importance of good oral health as a key component of overall health and well-being. Understanding the health problems that can arise from bad teeth and taking proactive steps to prevent such issues is crucial. By maintaining good oral hygiene practices and seeking regular dental care, you can keep both your smile and your body healthy.

By addressing the complex link between oral health and systemic health, we aim to equip you with the knowledge and resources necessary to make informed decisions about your dental care, ensuring a healthier future. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us and take the first step towards a healthier life.