The Importance of Dental Health
Taking care of your gums, teeth is crucial, and good dental and oral hygiene can help prevent gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath, while also helping ensure you keep your teeth as you age.
Researchers are continuing to discover more reasons for people to floss and brush. A health mouth can help you ward off infections and medical disorders, while unhealthy mouths with gum disease can increase the risk of serious issues like stroke, heart attack, preterm labor and poorly controlled diabetes.
Your mouth is basically a window into the rest of your body, and can show early symptoms and signs of systemic diseases. These are diseases that affect your whole body, such as diabetes or AIDS, and these can often first become apparent in the mouth as oral problems or mouth lesions.
Your saliva helps you to ward off invaders, and contains enzymes that degrade bacterial membranes, meaning it disrupts vital bacterial enzyme systems and inhibits the metabolism and growth of some types of bacteria. While your saliva is great at protection, it can’t do everything by itself. There are more than 500 types of bacteria that live in your mouth, and continually form something called dental plaque, which is a colourless, sticky film that clings to your teeth and can cause serious health problems.
For those who don’t floss and brush regularly, plague will often build up along your gumline, which creates an environment for bacteria which then accumulates in the space between your teeth and gums. This is a gum infection called gingivitis, and if this is left alone it can lead to a gum infection known as periodontitis. When this is left alone, it can become trench mouth.
Usually, bacteria from your mouth won’t enter your blood stream, but sometimes invasive dental treatments (even just routine flossing and brushing when you have gum disease) can give these microbes a port of entry.
For those with a healthy immune system, having some oral bacteria in your bloodstream won’t be a problem, and your immune system will quickly catch them and prevent infection. But for those who have a weakened immune system, especially with cancer treatment or a disease, these oral bacteria can cause infections in other parts of your body, and can even stick to the lining of your heart valves.
Those who have gum infection long-term can end up losing their teeth, and for those with diabetes, they already have a larger risk of developing gum disease, which can in turn make diabetes harder to control, causing insulin resistance and disrupting blood sugar control.
Gingivitis can also play a role in blood clots and clogged arteries, and mouth bacteria can cause inflammation elsewhere in the body, including the arteries. For those who are pregnant, it’s estimated that in the United State as many as 18% of low birth weight, preterm babies born every year could be because of oral infections. Since oral bacteria releases toxins, this can reach the placenta and be carried through the mother’s bloodstream.
As you can see, there are numerous reasons why you need to pay attention to your dental health. If you need a check up, get in touch with Oasis Dental Studio today.