How Do Other Health Issues Affect Oral Health?

Much like the eyes are the window to the soul, “Oral health is a window to your overall health.” It provides key insight into how the rest of your body is doing, including your gut. However, as you can expect, this also works vice versa.

Certain health issues can impact your oral health. That is one of the reasons why we recommend scheduling two dental visits each year. This allows our dentist to look into your mouth and see if there are signs of underlying health conditions. Ultimately, this will help you get the treatment you need for whatever concern you face.

Below, we’ll talk about a few health issues we see the most at our dental clinic and how they affect your mouth. We hope this will empower you to get the dental care you need.

How Other Health Issues Affect Oral Health

You might know that gum disease, oral cancer, and decayed teeth affect your oral health. Decayed teeth (i.e., cavities) alone affect about 25 percent of kids, 50 percent of teens, and over 90 percent of adults. If the decay is left alone, you may develop an infection beneath the gums, leading to issues with the rest of your body.

That said, it’s important to stay on top of your oral care. Seeing a dentist on a regular basis can help you spot any new issues that come up. Let’s take a closer peek at some health issues that impact your mouth so that you know when to give your dentist a call.

The gut is linked to the mouth.

Your gut is vital to your immunity. If there is inflammation within your immune system, it may cause your body to produce symptoms in your mouth. According to one article, bleeding gums are a common symptom that comes with inflammation, indicating potential problems within the digestive tract.

Here are a few gut concerns that impact oral health:

Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, etc.

Multiple digestive issues and conditions present symptoms in the mouth. Some of these conditions are inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.

If you have low vitamin B12 levels from not consuming enough in your diet or your body not absorbing the vitamin the way it should, you could experience symptoms in your mouth (e.g., red patches along the gums and inner parts of your cheeks).

These symptoms may persist if you have an underlying health condition as well, including but not limited to Crohn’s disease, gastritis, celiac disease, or other diseases.

Celiac disease may lead to ulcers within the mouth and stop your teeth from coming in the proper way. This can cause your teeth to turn a brown shade, and it can impact your tooth enamel. You may also have a higher chance of tooth decay.


This condition decreases your ability to fight infections, which poses a problem for your gums. Studies suggest that periodontal disease is more common in those with diabetes, and your symptoms could be worse.

It can be difficult to maintain your blood sugar if you face a form of periodontal disease. For that reason, scheduling regular dental visits is essential.

You and your dentist can use that opportunity to monitor your gum disease symptom progression and help keep other diabetes symptoms in the mouth at bay. (Schedule an appointment with Tri-City Dental Care today.)

Mental Health Issues

Studies show that, like digestive issues, mental health issues affect your oral health. In fact, individuals are likely to develop depression after being diagnosed with chronic gingivitis, according to recent research.

How and why does mental health impact your oral health? Consider this: many people who face mental health concerns struggle to keep up with their daily lives, including brushing their teeth. If this continues, oral health problems (e.g., periodontal disease) are inevitable.


As we mentioned above, problems with your immune system show symptoms in your mouth. If you have greater cortisol in your body due to a stressful situation or mental health concern, you can expect to have lower immunity. That makes it more likely for you to get symptoms of gingivitis and more severe forms of gum disease.

Certain antidepressants also lead to dry mouth. That decreases your saliva levels, which is like giving bacteria a permission slip to enter your mouth. That can cause cavities and a plethora of other issues.


Anxiety presents itself in many ways. You may experience panic attacks (or general feelings of overwhelm), and you could feel anxiety when on the way to the dentist.

Dental anxiety can prevent you from getting dental care, which can lead to oral health problems down the line. Approximately 50 percent to 80 percent of U.S. adults get anxious about going to the dentist. Over 20 percent of those individuals go long periods between each dental visit, and about nine to 15 percent of the anxious individuals steer clear of the dentist’s office.

A person’s anxiety may flare up if they anticipate something painful will happen at the appointment (e.g., a scaling or filling). In general, the more dental anxiety a patient has, the less likely they are to maintain their dental care. That can cause them to require additional dental procedures and more in-depth care in the future.


Many health issues impact your oral health, from mental health concerns to digestive issues. In fact, one of the first places digestive issues manifest symptoms is in the mouth.

Dentists have long studied the relationship between oral health and general health. What we know is that if there’s a problem in the body, your teeth and mouth could be impacted (or to blame–in some cases).

Also, some conditions, including anxiety, can lead to oral health issues if you don’t have the means to maintain a good oral care regimen.

If you are facing a health issue and experiencing mouth problems as a result, we encourage you to contact a dentist right away. Two appointments per year could be just enough to help you manage these symptoms.Looking for a local dentist in the Tri-Cities? Tri-City Dental Care is ready to give you a great, stress-free dental care experience from the moment you walk through our door. Book your appointment online today.

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