Many people assume the only reason to take good care of your teeth and gums is to have nice, white teeth, and fresh breath. While it’s true that a good oral health routine does lead to, and maintains a strong, beautiful smile, this healthy habit can actually protect you from serious illness and disease.
What do Your Teeth Have to do With the Rest of Your Body?
Besides allowing you the confidence to greet the world with a smile and eating your favorite foods, having a proper oral care routine can prevent certain bacteria from leaving your mouth and traveling to other parts of your body.
Scientists at Harvard University have recently been discussing the link between this bacteria and the mechanisms that route it to the bloodstream, allowing infiltration to areas that are vital to your overall health.
In people with periodontitis (severe gum disease that erodes the tissue and bone that support the teeth), any disturbance of this bacteria (including brushing) releases some of it into the bloodstream.
Other doctors and scientists have found several species of bacteria, that are directly involved with periodontitis, in the plaque that builds up in arteries of the heart and elsewhere. This plaque can often lead to heart attack. This oral bacteria can also affect blood vessels by releasing toxins that our immune systems responds to as being a threat, potentially causing damage to blood vessels or making blood more prone to clotting.
There is still a lot of research to be done and a much to learn about this oral bacteria/whole body connection. So far the data suggests having an excess of this bacteria in our mouths, or allowing our gums to become so diseased that the bacteria has a direct route to the bloodstream, is a bad idea.
Even with only this preliminary data, we should be re-examining our home dental practices and making our oral health more of a priority. Brush and floss every day, and see your dentist at least twice a year for routine cleanings and exams.
If you are ready to have a full assessment of your dental and oral health – or want to improve the look of your smile – call the Chicago dental office of Dr. Tanya Melnyk, DMD today!