Poor oral hygiene and dental caries predict a high mortality rate

Timothy Martinez DMD

March 9, 2023

The dental industry has been shifting its focus to preventive care. This is a good thing as oral diseases are associated with many health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. To evaluate the association between poor oral health indicators and hospitalization for CVD and all-cause mortality, we used a cohort study. We also investigated the influence of other factors, including gender, age, and oral hygiene, on the relationship.

Oral Hygiene

Poor oral hygiene and dental caries have been shown to increase the risk of several health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, and cancer. They have also been linked to cognitive impairment in the elderly.

A review of the literature found that poor oral hygiene was a common contributor to these conditions, with tooth loss and periodontal disease being the main culprits. Oral diseases account for a significant proportion of the global burden of disease, and they are often associated with socioeconomic and social factors.

In a world where more than 3 billion people suffer from some sort of mouth-related condition, it is critical to identify those with the most severe conditions and implement effective preventive strategies. The most important step is to educate people about the risks of developing the diseases and encourage them to take steps to maintain a healthy smile. The next step is to incorporate oral health into the national healthcare agenda and provide universal access to treatment, prevention, and research.

Dental Caries

Dental caries (cavities) develop when bacteria metabolize sugars to produce acids that demineralize the tooth structure. This damage causes pain, tooth loss, and, in rare cases, a spread of the infection to the brain—even death.

The risk of developing dental caries can be reduced by good oral hygiene habits, a healthy diet, and the presence of fluoride in water or toothpaste. However, factors outside a person’s control, such as genetics and environmental exposure, can increase the risk of developing caries.

Infants and small children are particularly susceptible to rampant caries, in which many lesions occur soon after teeth erupt. This can result from the frequent use of baby bottles containing sugary beverages, as well as from inappropriate breastfeeding.

In most cases, dental caries is easily treated by removing the decayed material and filling it in with a dental material. Common dental filling materials include composite resin, gold, and amalgam. In very severe cases, tooth extraction may be required to repair the damage.

Oral Comorbidity

Oral health conditions are a major global burden and affect almost 3.5 billion people, of whom 3 out of 4 live in low- and middle-income countries. Poor oral hygiene and dental caries are major risk factors for heart disease (heart attack, stroke), diabetes, and chronic lung disease.

This study investigated the relationship between self-reported oral health and mortality using a large population-based cohort. We compared risks for incident hospitalization for IHD, ischaemic stroke, HF, and PVD, and all-cause mortality among individuals reporting “very good’ and ‘poor’ health of teeth and gums.

The study used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 1999–2004, which is a series of cross-sectional studies representing the civilian, noninstitutionalized population in the United States. Among the variables included in this study were race and ethnicity, education, chronic health conditions, and health behaviors such as obesity and smoking. Several of these confounders were shown to be significant in the regression models.


Mortality is the number of deaths a population experiences in a certain time period. It can be expressed as a rate or as an absolute number. It’s often expressed as a number per 1000 individuals, but can also be expressed as a percentage of a certain population size, like 1,000 or 100,000 people.

Prevalence rates of disease are also sometimes used in conjunction with mortality to calculate the occurrence of illness across a specific population and geographic location over a given time period, such as a year. These measures can help epidemiologists better gauge the frequency of illness and the potential impact on a particular population’s quality of life.

The prevalence of poor oral hygiene and dental caries was found to be associated with high mortality rates in the population studied. This was especially true for those with poor self-reported dental health. In these people, the risk of HF (HR, 95% CI 1.19, 1.03 to 1.38), PVD (1.66, 1.13 to 2.43), and all-cause mortality was significantly higher than in those with very good self-reported health of teeth and gums.