The Importance of Good Oral Hygiene: How It Affects Your Whole-Body Health

Smiling woman eating watermelon

Maintain a healthy body and pearly whites

From a young age, we are taught the importance of taking care of our teeth. Brushing, flossing and getting checkups are all a part of the cycle of good oral care.

But as we age, we forget about how important maintaining a clean mouth can be. Whether from time constraints or just plain forgetting, we often neglect to keep up with our oral hygiene routine.

What many people don’t realize, however, is that their oral health can have a direct impact on the rest of their bodies. New studies have shown that oral issues or infections can give rise to other health concerns. But how exactly does this happen, and what can we do to avoid it?

In today’s blog post, AZ Family & Kid’s Dental team will explore the link between oral and whole-body health. We’ll discuss how teaching your kids proper oral care from a young age can help them avoid health problems.

We’ll also offer some tips for an ideal oral hygiene routine so that you can start implementing these changes into your daily life and keep your teeth and your kids in great shape.

So if you’re ready to learn about how your oral health affects the rest of your body, keep reading!

Why Is Oral Hygiene Important?

Your mouth is home to a diverse ecosystem of bacteria, some of which are beneficial and some of which can be harmful. Streptococcus salivarius, for example, is a form of natural bacteria that is found in your mouth. It may help to fight off cariogenic and periodontal infections, keeping your teeth healthy and strong.

But the issue is, Streptococcus salivarius and other beneficial bacteria can’t fight off infections solo — they need your help. When you don’t take care of your teeth, such as skipping brushing or flossing, this natural bacteria cannot keep the harmful bacteria in check.

This causes a snowball effect of oral health issues as the harmful bacteria begin to overtake your mouth. Not only does this lead to bad breath and tooth decay, but it can also increase your risk for other diseases that we will touch on more below.

Other Risks to Oral Hygiene

Skipping out on your oral hygiene routine isn’t the only thing that can cause problems. In fact, medications, like decongestants and antihistamines, tend to dry the mouth out. Saliva acts like a car wash for your mouth, constantly flushing away bacteria and other particles. So without enough saliva, your mouth is more vulnerable to infections.

What you eat and drink can also significantly impact your oral health. Sugary foods, acidic drinks, and smoking can all wreak havoc on your teeth and gums over time. To keep your mouth healthy and strong, it’s essential to stick to a nutritious diet that includes plenty of water and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Smoking should be strictly avoided, as it dries out your mouth and can lead to periodontal infections and even oral cancer. If you are struggling with an addiction to smoking, be sure to seek out help from your doctor or local nicotine replacement therapies. 

How Oral Hygiene Affects the Rest of Your Body

So how does your oral health relate to the rest of your body? Well, in a nutshell, it all comes down to circulation and infection.

When bacteria builds up in your mouth, it can enter your bloodstream through tiny cracks that form on your teeth or lesions in your gums. Once these bacteria are present in your bloodstream, they can travel to any part of your body, causing various medical problems.

Here are just a few examples of conditions that can be caused by poor oral care or exacerbate poor oral hygiene:


Because diabetes reduces blood circulation to the gums, it can make these areas more susceptible to gum disease. In addition, people with diabetes often have high blood sugar levels and higher acidity, increasing their risk for cavities.

Heart Disease

Studies have found that there is a link between gum disease and heart disease. Bacteria from your mouth can enter the bloodstream and lead to inflammation throughout the body, which can eventually infect your heart chamber or valve. This is called endocarditis and can be life-threatening if left untreated.


Strep throat, a common infection in the throat and upper airways, can cause pneumonia if it moves into your lungs. Research has shown that people with periodontal disease are more likely to develop pneumonia than those without gum problems.


Poor oral hygiene has also been linked to osteoporosis, a condition that causes your bones to become weak and brittle. This includes your teeth, and the drugs which might be used to treat them can negatively affect the strength of your teeth and jaw.

As you can see, the health of your mouth is intimately connected with the health of the rest of your body.

To protect yourself from severe medical conditions and keep your teeth strong, it’s essential to adopt a healthy oral hygiene routine. But because many people grew up with different ideas about caring for their teeth and gums, there can be a lot of confusion surrounding an ideal oral health routine.

The Best Oral Hygiene Routine

Two happy kids brushing their teeth

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for oral health, there are several key components that any routine should include.

Incorporating the following steps into your oral care routine can help keep your mouth healthy and prevent damage to the rest of your body:

Brush Your Teeth At Least Twice A Day

While this might be obvious, many people still struggle to remember to brush their teeth at least twice a day. This is one of the most important things you can do for your oral hygiene and overall health.

A good brushing routine should always be done with a soft-bristled toothbrush, and you should use gentle circular motions to scrub your teeth and gums gently. It’s recommended that you hold the brush at a 45-degree angle and spend at least two minutes in each session.

Bacteria also loves to sit on your tongue, so be sure to brush that as well.

Another common concern is whether enough toothpaste is being used. While it’s generally recommended that you use a pea-sized amount, this might vary depending on your tooth size. It is also important to avoid swallowing any excess toothpaste to avoid exposing yourself unnecessarily to any harmful ingredients if ingested.

Floss your teeth at least once a day

It’s so important to floss at least once a day. Flossing not only helps to remove food particles between your teeth and gums, but it can also help to prevent plaque and tartar buildup, which is the leading cause of gum disease.

Most harmful bacteria are in the back of your mouth and sitting in the gaps between your teeth. The most effective way to remove this bacteria is by using dental floss or a water flosser. You can also use interdental brushes to help keep your teeth clean and healthy.

The ideal way to floss is to use a gentle back-and-forth motion and ensure that you are moving the floss in between your teeth. Wrap the floss around your index and middle fingers before moving it up and down between each tooth. Be sure to go slowly, as you don’t want to cause any damage or pain by flossing too aggressively.


Using mouthwash is another critical component of oral hygiene that many people often overlook. While some people prefer to use natural products, more powerful mouthwash contains antibacterial agents that can help to remove bacteria and plaque.

When choosing a mouthwash, it’s important to make sure you use the right type for your needs. Depending on your circumstances, you might need an antiseptic mouthwash to kill harmful bacteria or a fluoride-rich mouthwash to strengthen your tooth enamel.

The burn that alcohol-based mouthwash can give is usually a sign that it’s doing its job. However, if you find this too painful or the burning sensation lasts more than 30 seconds, it’s probably best to switch to a milder mouthwash.

Routine Checkups

Woman getting a dental checkup

Along with following a regular oral hygiene routine, it’s  important that you have regular checkups with a dentist. These frequent visits can help identify any issues early on and prevent them from worsening.

Ideally, you should visit your dentist twice a year — or more frequently if you are at high risk of developing dental problems. During these visits, the dentist will closely examine your teeth, gums, and tongue to check for any signs of tooth decay or gum disease.

If you have questions about certain aspects of your oral health or want to learn more about how to improve your dental hygiene, be sure to speak with your dentist.

Remember that while your dentist enjoys seeing you, they always prefer it when you only need to come in for routine checkups,, instead of needing to return for more serious procedures.

By taking care of your teeth daily and making regular visits to the dentist, you can help avoid taking any unnecessary risks with your oral and overall health.

Final Thoughts 

At the end of the day, an ideal oral health routine should include brushing, flossing, using mouthwash, and regularly visiting the dentist for checkups. Following these simple steps can help keep your teeth and gums healthy and reduce your risk of developing serious health conditions.

Your mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body, so it’s essential to take good care of your oral health. Following an ideal oral health routine can help maintain a healthy and happy smile for years to come.

Be sure to talk to your dentist if you have questions about drastically changing your oral hygiene routine, and always practice safe and effective methods to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Your friends at AZ Family and Kids Dental wish you the best of luck in maintaining your ideal oral health! Keep smiling!