Practicing good oral hygiene is one reasonably reliable predictor of better dental health outcomes. By carting properly for your teeth you can help increase the odds of being able to keep your natural teeth throughout your life and into old age.
Ensure a Healthy Flow of Saliva
Did you know that your saliva can give your doctor or dentist information about potential health complications before any other symptoms appear?
Saliva is also the body's first line of defence against all types of serious viruses. In fact, saliva offers the main defence against disease-causing organisms.
Saliva contains antibodies that attack viral pathogens, such as the common cold and even HIV. It also contains enzymes that destroy bacteria in several different ways, for instance by degrading bacterial membranes, disrupting vital bacterial enzyme systems, and inhibiting the growth and metabolism of some bacteria.
Keeping your salivary flow healthy is quite easy for most people. You can help ensure this flow by drinking plenty of water throughout each day.
The Damage Caused by Plaque or Bacteria
Plaque is a sticky tooth-coloured substance that sticks to your teeth, most prominently around the gum line. Did you know that this substance is actually alive? It is made up of millions of bacteria.
If you don’t brush and floss your teeth regularly and thoroughly, you’re allowing dental plaque to build up between your gums and teeth, eventually leading to a gum infection called gingivitis. Left unchecked, gingivitis can lead to a more serious infection called periodontitis (gum disease).
If you have periodontitis, simply undergoing a dental treatment or just brushing your teeth can provide a port of entry for the abundant bacteria in your mouth to enter your bloodstream.
While those with a healthy immune system may not experience an infection to the degree of those who are unhealthy, the bacteria still make their way into the bloodstream causing a variety of concerns. If your immune symptom has been weakened, for example by a disease or by cancer treatment, oral bacteria in your bloodstream may cause you to develop an infection in another part of your body.
Infective endocarditis is another serious condition where oral bacteria enter the bloodstream and stick to the lining of diseased heart valves.
How Plaque Contributes to Various Dental Conditions
Having a healthy mouth may help you ward off certain diseases and medical problems such as stroke, heart attack, complications related to diabetes, and even pre-term labour.
Chronic gum disease may make diabetes more difficult to control. The infection may cause insulin resistance, which can disrupt blood sugar control.
Bacteria in the mouth may cause inflammation throughout the body, including the arteries, meaning gingivitis may play a role in clogged arteries and blood clots.
In addition, gum disease and tooth loss may contribute to the development of plaques in the carotid artery.