World Oral Health Day is celebrated in March, but here at West Bowmanville Family Dental, we think it is important to think about your oral health every day. However, it is a good opportunity to reflect for a moment and to consider if your dental health could use some improvement and to think about how it can impact overall health.
The Importance of Good Oral Health
Taking care of your teeth and gums greatly increase the chances you will enjoy your natural teeth for life. Good dental hygiene helps to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, and bad breath. Now, clinical researchers are discovering many more reasons why you should brush and floss your teeth regularly in Newcastle.
Having a healthy mouth can help protect you against medical disorders. If your mouth is unhealthy and especially if you have gum disease, it could increase your risk of developing serious health problems, including poorly controlled diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disorders and dementia. When you see a dentist in Clarington, they can tell a great deal about your overall health simply by looking inside your mouth. Your mouth is a bit like a window to the rest of your body and can show early signs and symptoms of systemic disease, for example, diabetes that can often initially cause oral problems like mouth lesions.
Why Saliva Matters
Most people take saliva for granted, but it is an extremely useful protective fluid. It’s your body’s main defence against bacteria and viruses in the mouth, and saliva contains antibodies that can attack viruses such as the common cold. It contains proteins that help to inhibit the growth of Candida Albicans, a type of fungus. If these proteins are weakened by illness or infection, Candida can grow out of control, resulting in oral thrush in Courtice. Saliva also contains enzymes that can destroy bacteria, but it can’t be entirely effective all the time.
Dental Plaque and Why It’s a Problem
Did you know your mouth contains more than 500 species of bacteria at any time? These bacteria form dental plaque, a sticky biofilm that covers your teeth and which can cause dental and health problems. If you don’t brush and floss your teeth regularly, plaque quickly builds up around the gum line, creating the ideal environment for more bacteria to accumulate. It causes an infection known as gingivitis or early gum disease. Without the proper treatment, gingivitis can develop into a more serious gum infection called periodontal disease.
Periodontal Disease and Why It Can Be Serious
Usually, mouth bacteria cannot enter the bloodstream, but when your gums are infected, even just brushing and flossing them can provide an entry point for these microbes. Diseased gums are more fragile and more likely to bleed when you brush and floss. Sometimes medications or medical treatments can reduce saliva flow, and antibiotics can disrupt the balance of bacteria in your mouth, compromising your defences and allowing bacteria to enter your bloodstream more easily.
However, if you have a strong and healthy immune system, these bacteria are quickly eliminated before they can cause infection. If your immune system is weakened, for example, because of a medical condition, these oral bacteria in your bloodstream can potentially cause an infection in another part of your body. One example is infected endocarditis, where oral bacteria stick to the lining of diseased heart valves.
There is some good news, though, as if you practice good oral hygiene daily and see a dentist regularly, you can protect your oral health and your overall health. If it has been a while since you saw a dentist, we can help you regain and maintain an optimal level of dental health, and that’s something to smile about on World Oral Health Day.