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Mouths Matter More Than You May Know

Published 04/08/2021

Oral Health's Connection to Overall Health

CareQuest Institute’s research confirms the link between oral health and overall health. A new brief outlines how tooth decay, gum disease, and more can have an impact on diabetes, respiratory health, and blood pressure.

Some key findings from the report:

  • People with periodontal disease (PD)—also called “gum disease”—have a 28% higher risk of suffering their first heart attack than those without this disease.
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is believed to cause 70% of throat cancers, which occur in the oropharynx—the tongue, the rear of the mouth, and the upper portion of the throat.
  • Researchers in Japan studied more than 1,500 older adults and found that tooth loss was a risk factor for dementia. Another research paper concluded that tooth loss “may be a predictor” of dementia.

The growing evidence connecting oral health with overall health provides helpful insights to inform state policies and integrating oral health into broader health strategies remains key.

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