While we usually only care that our teeth are white and our breath is fresh, ignoring your oral health can have far-reaching implications for your health.
Some bacteria protect our teeth and gums, others cause tooth decay and gum disease.
Certain chemicals combine into dangerous compounds, and carbohydrates combine to create organic compounds that ferment in your mouth which create lactic and other acids that destroy the enamel in your teeth.
This stuff softens the enamel leading to decay, cavities, receding gums and pockets of exposed roots.
Not only is this painful, but it also affects other systems in your body.
Cardiovascular, brain, kidney diseases, as well as some cancers, are just some of the disorders that can occur because of periodontal (gum) disease.
The harmful bacteria are remarkable in how temerariously it attacks. Under certain conditions, it creates a glue-like substance to create a film called plaque. This attaches itself to the teeth and starts to eat away at the enamel.
This biofilm is at the root of dental disease.
If the plaque hardens, it will take on different minerals and forms a hardening crust called tartar which the hygienists need to scrape off.
You may have heard of gingivitis in mouthwash commercials. This is a result of plaque stimulating an immune response in the soft tissue of the mouth and especially the gums.
The gums become inflamed, irritated, swollen, red and bleed easily. Left untreated, this can progress to periodontitis where the bacteria destroy the supportive structure of the teeth…leading to tooth loss.
And then the downward cascade begins.
Research suggests that the bacteria responsible for periodontitis can enter your bloodstream through the gum tissue, possibly affecting your heart, lungs and other parts of your body.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “periodontitis may be linked with respiratory disease, rheumatoid arthritis, coronary artery disease or stroke.”
In Europe, the dangers to unborn children are often noted.
The European Journal of Perinatology note:
“It is now understood that untreated periodontal disease can have effects on general health; for example, it poses an increased risk for complications during pregnancy (pre-eclampsia, premature birth and low birth weight) and also an increased risk for heart disease and diabetes.”
The good news – this is preventable.
Just brushing your teeth breaks up the biofilm to some extent, add to that rinsing the gunk out and getting it out of the crevices between your teeth with flossing which creates a mechanical action, stopping the stuff from gaining a foothold.
In short, your parents were not wrong when they told you to brush your teeth when you went to bed and got up.
You can also give yourself some other weapons to fight the bad bacteria by restoring the microbiome in your mouth. Click here to see what Freedom Health News has written on this unique subject (Link to MOUTH story 4/22)
Daily oral care, working with your dentist, and balancing your microbiome with probiotics will not only help you keep your teeth, but protect your overall health.
It is amazing we recognize what we eat can affect our health, but we ignore what we are eating it with.
For instance, we will clean cuts and ice injuries on other parts of our body, but we too often ignore our red swollen gums, until it becomes urgent, painful and life-threatening.