Having a beautiful smile can be a massive confidence boost, and go a long way towards giving a positive first impression. However, the state of your teeth is also important for your overall health, and has been linked to many general health problems.

One problem you might not associate dental health with is memory loss. Having bad teeth can lead to gingivitis, a gum disease which causes extensive swelling and bleeding.

Research published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry suggests adults affected by gingivitis perform significantly worse on a range of cognitive tests, including memory tests. Using antibacterial mouthwash or toothpaste can help reduce bacteria caused by gingivitis.

According to the NHS, gum disease has also been associated with cardiovascular problems like heart disease and strokes. While experts stop short of drawing a direct link between the two, many suggest that maintaining good oral health can help protect general health, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems more particularly.

Maintaining good oral health is also strongly recommended for pregnant women. Hormonal changes in pregnant women mean periodontal diseases can become more prominent than for regular patients. In addition, there is evidence to suggest a link between gum disease in pregnancy, low birth weight and pre-term labour.

Whilst not all studies find a substantial link, it is recommended women take extra care during pregnancy and regularly visit their dentist.

Finally, there is a correlation between oral health and diabetes. Since diabetes is caused by uncontrolled blood sugar levels, which in excess can damage your teeth, it’s little surprise. Hence, if you’re diabetic you are more likely to develop severe gum problems, and vice versa – being diabetic can make you less able to fight off infections like gum disease.

Reducing your risk of gingivitis by protecting your oral health may help with blood sugar control if you have been diagnosed with diabetes.

Like other body areas, your mouth is full of (mostly harmless) bacteria. In order to keep good teeth, you should ensure you brush and floss your teeth regularly, and adopt a balanced diet. Make sure you schedule regular checkups with your dentist, too.