Sugary foods, greasy skin, and poor hygiene and skin care are all things that we typically consider to be causes of acne. But what many people don’t realize is that poor oral health, infected teeth and gum disease can also cause or exacerbate skin conditions.

Research indicates a clear link between oral health and skin disease. As such, dentists and dermatologists are an excellent resource for helping patients understand how to exercise healthy oral hygiene practices that resolve or prevent conditions like psoriasis and acne.

The good news is that because of the link between poor oral health and skin conditions, maintaining good oral health can reduce your likelihood of developing acne. This means it’s important for you to brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss regularly, use mouthwash and attend your regular dental checkups.

Oral Bacteria and Acne

Some oral bacteria, such as Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis, have been identified as potential culprits behind acne breakouts. These microbes can migrate from the oral cavity to the skin, triggering inflammatory responses and contributing to the formation of acne lesions.

Propionibacterium acnes

Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) is a bacteria that can be found in various parts of the body, including the intestine, mouth and oral cavity. In some cases, when P. acnes is transferred from your mouth to your skin, it feasts on any dead skin cells and sebum it finds, causing acne comedones, like blackheads and whiteheads.

Staphylococcus epidermidis

Another oral bacteria, Staphylococcus epidermidis causes skin infections that yield swollen red pustules that are painful and warm to the touch. While the large bumps on the skin caused by Staphylococcus epidermidis are not technically acne, they can be confused with it.

Poor Oral Hygiene and Acne

Unfortunately, poor oral hygiene practices, like irregular cleanings, can increase your chances of suffering from acne. When bacteria like Propionibacterium acnes or Staphylococcus epidermidis make contact with your face, they can encourage skin inflammation and acne breakouts. Pimples located on the chin, around the lips or on the lower cheeks are the type of acne that is most likely to be the result of poor dental hygiene.

Inflammation’s role in acne onset and aggravation

When you have poor oral hygiene, you’re more likely to develop gum disease or cavities. Such problem areas are awash with harmful bacteria. Unfortunately, with such a high instance of bad bacteria, the chances of bacteria being transferred from inside your mouth to the skin around your mouth are high. This chain reaction can trigger inflammation on your face that’s powerful enough to cause acne and other skin conditions such as psoriasis.

Tips to Prevent Oral Hygiene-Related Acne

If you want to avoid the development of acne and other skin conditions caused by poor oral hygiene, be sure to incorporate the following actions into your daily routine.

Brush your teeth before you wash your face

One of the most effective ways to prevent acne through good oral hygiene is to always wash your face after you have brushed your teeth. By doing so, you will get rid of any bacteria that has been transmitted from your inner mouth to your face during brushing, effectively minimizing their chance to take hold.

Brush twice a day

If there were not already enough reasons to brush and floss twice a day, you can add minimizing your risk of facial acne to the list! Not only does this crucial step stave off cavities, it reduces the growth of harmful bacteria in your mouth.

Believe it or not, there is a right way to brush. Fortunately, it’s also a simple way! To brush your teeth properly, first think of your mouth as being divided into four separate quadrants: your upper left teeth, your upper right teeth, your lower left teeth, and your lower right teeth. It’s important that you brush each quadrant thoroughly, for at least 30 seconds. It’s a straightforward symptom made even easier with the use of a timer or an electric toothbrush.

Floss daily

In addition to brushing, you’ll also need to floss daily. Using traditional thread floss is one option, but you can make this an even easier task by investing in a water flosser, such as a Waterpik. These devices will be able to clear away all the food and debris in those hard-to-reach places between your teeth, while also making the process more hygienic. And this crucial tool is a lot cheaper than many people think it is! With a wide variety of options available on the market, you’ll find water flossers for every budget.

Cut down on sugar

Limiting your sugar intake benefits your overall physical wellbeing, including your oral health, for a number of reasons. One of them is that bacteria like Propionibacterium acnes or Staphylococcus epidermidis thrive on sugar. Therefore, to reduce the amount of bad bacteria in your mouth, it’s important that you cut down and limit your sugar consumption.

Use mouthwash

Mouthwash containing antiseptics can help kill mouth bacteria.

Visit your dentist regularly for checkups

Your dentist and your dental hygienists are your teammates in health. Even if you stick to the routine outlined above, you still need a professional checkup on a regular basis to ensure that underlying issues aren’t developing and receive a thorough cleaning. Regular dental hygiene appointments are an essential part of maintaining your overall health, so be sure to visit your dentist at least twice a year!

Book an Appointment With an Experienced Dentist in Richmond, VA

Improvement in dental care and dental hygiene can cause positive outcomes in patients with acne. All of us at The Cosmetic Laser and Dental Spa of Richmond are focused on restoring and maintaining the health of your entire body—starting with your mouth!

Contact us to learn more about how regular dental visits can improve your skin health or book an appointment to start your journey to total body wellness.