Laser Technology in Dentistry: How Revolutionary is It?

Since its introduction in the field in 1961, the role of laser technology has been growing in importance in the field of dentistry. Laser detectors are useful in fluorescence pickups. In relation to dentistry, you may doubt the validity of this fact. The truth is fluorescence, which, in other words, is merely a flashing light, characterizes bacterial decay.

Locating fluorescence with laser detectors is effective with absolute accuracy in picking up specific dental infections. Read the following parts of this article to help you better understand the role of Laser technology in dental diagnosis.

Detecting decay

Laser technology is extremely efficient in caries (tooth decay) detection. Such decreases are caused by the presence of microbes, which send off the fluoresce, which the laser detectors, in turn, pick up. Laser detectors are usually used to detect degradation of the tooth when visual inspection alone is not sufficient for that purpose.

Dr. Joel M. White, a professor at the UCSF School of Dentistry, says- ‘They (laser detectors) are an ideal addition to oral exams that may be missed by visual inspection alone, helping to distinguish caries (tooth decay).’

These often allow conditions to be tracked from one visit to the next, to assess if decay is “arrested” or “progressive” and therefore at what point care is really required. Hence, laser technology not only helps to detect caries, it is also helpful in identifying the disease.

Locating calculus

Calculus is a type of calcified bacterial plaque, or most commonly known as “tartar.” These are hard substances, and their removal involves gum therapy as they form under the gums. Even finding them under the surface could be extremely difficult due to their shape, and conventional methods of detection would require a lot of removal of tissue. However, laser detectors can locate the calculus accurately and thus, aid in their diagnosis before the condition can get worse.

Early oral cancer detection

Recent developments in laser technology have taken place. One is the development of lasers that fluoresce soft oral tissues. This has contributed to a breakthrough in laser technology in the early phase detection of oral cancer.

This is possible because a dentist can identify cancer cells and even irregular tissue by means of these laser devices by sensing whether or not they shine. As a result, today laser technology does not only aid in the early detection of cancer, but also in tissue detection in its pre-cancer phases.

Precision in diagnosis is the major reason why dentists are striving to avail this technology. Imagine detecting oral issues at the earliest, and even being able to locate them precisely. Thankfully, this is a reality now. You can avail laser dentistry in Plantation FL. Click here to know more.

Answering All Your Questions on Dental Sealants

What are dental sealants?

Dental sealants are thin plastic materials which are typically placed onto the back teeth in order to prevent tooth decay. This is used to seal the grooves and pits in your teeth, particularly molars and premolars. They harden over time to become permanent.

Why do kids need sealants?

Kids are the most susceptible to tooth decay. Therefore, kids should get sealants as soon as the first permanent molars and premolars appear, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Sealants work on the surfaces of the teeth as a protective layer and avoid decay at a young age. This helps children maintain their oral health and aesthetic smiles for a long time.

How do sealants work?

Molars and premolars are uneven and therefore, food particles tend to stick to them over time, causing tooth decay. Sealants make these surfaces smoother, so that food particles are not trapped in those grooves and pits!

Are sealants safe?

Yeah, there are healthy and durable. For almost six decades, dentists have been using sealants and the damage caused by dental sealants has never been rare to none.

How long do dental sealants last?

Dental sealants typically last with proper care for one decade. They are, however, prone to scratching and rough brushing and flossing of the teeth. Therefore, their service life is usually roughly 6-8 years.

The procedure of getting dental sealants

Dental sealants usually require one appointment.

    • The dentist, first of all, brushes the tooth, often with an electric toothbrush.
    • Second, the positions gauze to keep the tooth dry.
    • Third, the roughening of the tooth surface is done with an acidic solution. This is because the sealants adhere well to rough surfaces.
    • Fourth, rinse the tooth and drying it up again.
    • Fifth, the sealant is applied on the tooth, usually on the rear side.

Isn’t brushing enough?

Your toothbrush bristles can’t get rid of the germs at the back of your teeth entirely and have a hard time effectively hitting the pits and grooves. The question is, why would you leave it to your toothbrush when in the first place, you could seal the areas which are susceptible to decay? There’s one option that you might consider though.

Fluoride is the best defense against tooth decay and the fastest one as well. Therefore, dentists recommend that you use toothpaste with fluoride. Besides that, you can also drink fluoridated water to keep the bacteria away from your mouth!

Want to know more? Considering a dental sealant? Get a dental sealant from the best dentist in Plantation FL.

About Intraoral Cameras and Their Benefits

Intraoral cameras are a great tool for closely observing parts of your mouth which are otherwise hard to reach. Dentists also improve patient education, projecting high quality images of the inside of your mouth onto a nearby display so you can see what the dentist sees.

An intraoral camera is a tool that dentists use to look at various parts of your mouth more closely. The intraoral camera is a lightweight, stylish tool which can be used in order to take quality color pictures of your teeth and gums and other parts of your mouth if necessary.

Thanks to the compact and easy to manipulate intraoral camera, dentists can use it to see corners of your mouth, which can not easily be seen with the imperfect eye. Dentists may use the intraoral camera to improve your oral health and diagnose dental issues such as tooth decay and periodontal disease, and tooth damage such as damaged or chipped tooth.

After a procedure is complete, the intraoral camera is also useful to track the success of a treatment. The pictures taken with the intraoral camera help enhance your smile with precision.

They help to get a better understanding of your oral health and dental treatments. Such images can also be sent to other dentists and specialists and sent to dental insurance companies as needed. To elaborate a little more, here are the 3 main benefits of Intraoral cameras in dentistry.

Benefits of Intraoral Cameras in Dentistry

Convenient Diagnosis

A dentist can easily detect complications without the patient keeping the mouth open for a few hours by means of an intraoral camera to explore the oral cavity. This great progress has made dental appointments smoother and more convenient for patients.

Preventive Diagnosis and Care

Not only is an intraoral camera less invasive, but can also help detect oral health issues at the beginning. It can be used to identify possible issues with dental health that the naked eye can not see. In fact, the early detection of an oral problem avoids significant damage to your teeth and prevents future complications.

More Transparent Patient Education

Dentists often find it difficult to describe and the device can be used to instruct their patients comfortably. Intraoral cameras can be used to help patients to consider their teeth’s condition over and above the diagnostic benefits.

Non-invasive, better oral care, and convenient diagnosis – isn’t that what you’ve always looked for in your dental check-up? You can avail this technology too! Get the best oral care and dental diagnosis with Intraoral Cameras in Plantation FL today!

Step-By-Step Tooth Extraction Procedure

Tooth extraction is not as painful as you think it is. Since you’d be sedated, the only pain you’d experience is after the surgical procedure. If you’re scheduled to undergo a tooth extraction, gather your courage and do read through the steps involved in tooth extraction.

This is because firstly, you wouldn’t feel any pain at all and secondly, knowing what you’d be going through would better prep you up for the procedure mentally. So without further ado, the following are the steps involved in a tooth extraction procedure:

  • The dentist would first anesthetize you with either local or general anesthesia. If you have too much dental anxiety, you’re likely to undergo general anesthesia. However, it still depends on your medical condition.
  • The tooth will be then loosened from the gum tissues to facilitate the extraction. It will be done with the help of a blade-like object, called a periotome.
  • The gum tissues around the tooth will be further widened to loosen the tooth even more. An elevator may also be used for the same purpose. The purpose behind loosening your tooth as much as possible is to ensure that the tooth extraction is smooth and does not uproot or injure surrounding gum tissues.
  • For the extraction part, a pair of objects that look like forceps will be used. They will grab on to your teeth before the dentist starts to stroke it back and forth to disconnect the root from the surrounding tissues.
  • A clot forms in the socket of the extracted tooth. The dentist will place a gauze pad above it and ask you to bite gently on it. If you bite too hard and break the clot loose, you would experience some intolerable pain.

If a tooth is too hard to extract, the dentist would choose to extract the tooth piece by piece. Either way, you wouldn’t feel any pain during the extraction procedure.

However, if a tooth that has to be extracted isn’t visible enough from the surface of the gums, an incision will be done to extract it. As per News Medical,

If the tooth is not or only partially visible, a surgical dental extraction may be performed. In this procedure, an incision will be made to expose the tooth with a surgical flap. The tooth may also need to be sectioned into pieces to prevent trauma to the surrounding nerves and tissues as they are removed. The pieces can be loosened from the socket with an elevator, similar to the simple procedure. The fragments can then be removed one at a time in a specific sequence, with the curved roots being removed at the end.

After the extraction, make sure that you follow all the instructions laid by your dentist as a part of the aftercare. Avoid food items that are hard to chew for the first few weeks and brush and floss very gently near the surgical area. If you need a tooth extraction and you reside in Plantation FL, book an appointment with the best dentist for tooth extraction.

How To Get Rid Of Sleep Apnea In 5 Simple Ways

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition in which air does not pass through your respiratory system properly when you’re asleep. As a result, you do not breathe well when you’re sleeping. Consequently, you may gasp for air in your sleep and wake up tired, or with a dry mouth.

How do I know if I have sleep apnea? 

If you snore too loudly, wake up exhausted with a dry mouth, tend to be too sleepy during the day or experience interrupted sleep, chances are that you may have sleep apnea.

How bad is it?

Sleep apnea can trigger mental health issues, lead to poor immune function, contribute to memory loss, and even increase your risk of heart failure, as per an article published by Healthline.

What is the traditional treatment for it? 

CPAP treatment, and in some instances, even surgeries are the most common traditional treatments for sleep apnea.

If you read about CPAP therapy, you would realize that maybe not everyone could possibly tolerate the treatment. This is why some may wish to have alternative solutions to sleep apnea. The following is a list of 5 alternative sleep apnea treatment options:

1. An oral appliance

An oral appliance is the best alternative therapy for sleep apnea for those patients who cannot tolerate CPAP therapy. It works by holding the tongue in position and opening up the airway in the process. “Oral sleep apnea treatment devices prevent the airway from collapsing by holding the tongue in position or by sliding the patient’s jaw forward so patients can breathe while they sleep. A sleep technologist can titrate an oral appliance fitted by a dental professional trained in sleep medicine.”

2. Proper exercises

Proper exercises can help you breathe better. Practice some breathing exercises. Since sleep apnea involves lack of oxygen in the body when it’s asleep, increasing energy levels through proper exercise increase oxygen intake and reduce sleep apnea. It is highly recommended that you practice yoga. Yoga is associated with improved breathing, increased energy, and a healthier heart.

3. Change some of your daily habits

According to an article published on helpguide.org, sleep apnea can be reduced if you do not have any heavy meals or caffeine within a couple of hours before going to bed, and even by maintaining consistent sleep hours.

Also, consider reducing smoking and drinking. They are known to cause your airways to inflame and swell up.

4. Weight loss

Maintaining a healthy weight is highly effective in getting rid of sleep apnea. Being overweight means that you have narrow air passages. This, in turn, blocks the airflow and causes you to gasp for air or snore. Keeping a healthy weight keeps the airway properly open and facilitates airflow.

5. Using humidifiers 

Healthline recommends you to use humidifiers to get rid of your sleep apnea to some extent. This is because moist air facilitates breathing. “Humidifiers are devices that add moisture to the air. Dry air can irritate the body and the respiratory system. Using a humidifier can open your airways, decrease congestion, and encourage clearer breathing. For added benefits, consider adding lavender, peppermint, or eucalyptus oil to a humidifier. These three essential oils have known anti-inflammatory and soothing benefits.”

Just because you snore does not mean that you have sleep apnea. Ask someone to check if you snore too loudly or gasp for air in your sleep to find out. In some instances, sleep apnea patients do not even snore. Thus, look for the other symptoms listed earlier in the article to suspect sleep apnea. It is a disorder that can take some serious turns. Hence, if you do have sleep apnea, start the 5 alternative treatments from today itself!

Dental Surgeries and its Variants

Have you ever wondered why dental surgery is a totally separate arm of medical science? In fact, if not measured in size, your oral health is as important as your overall health! Oral health complications can add up to make a long list and therefore, the types of surgical interventions related to them are many in number too. In this article we would take a glance of the different kinds of dental surgeries, their needs and purposes.

Being a vast field in itself, dental surgeries are better segregated by classifying them under two broad categories: Endodontic and Prosthodontic. The former concerns the inner part of the tooth whereas the latter, concerns the overall tooth itself. The nature and scope of the different types of surgeries will let you have an idea of two broad categories.

1. Endodontic Surgery :

Root Canal Treatment : The most common endodontic surgery is that of a root canal. It is done especially when you have a rotten tooth with infected pulp and root inside it. The procedure basically involves accessing the infected pulp in order to pull it out and replacing the empty space with a filling material. Root canal treatment is mainly of three types:

  1. Pulpotomy: This is a preliminary stage of the root canal treatment. The dentist works on the tooth, primarily the pulp chamber and drains all the infection out of the tooth.
  2. Pulpectomy: This involves removal of the entire pulp in the tooth. This also aids in suppressing the temporary pain.
  3. Apicoectomy: The root of the tooth is known as Apex. Thus Apicoectomy is a root-end resection wherein the dentist removes the root of the tooth. In the process the infection is also drained off.

2. Prosthodontics Surgery :

Prosthodontics today, quite popularly include a range of treatments that work to better the visual appearances of your teeth. The various procedures include:

  1. Crowns: These are also known as caps. They are artificial teeth that functions as covers for a decaying or damaged tooth. Caps or artificial crowns that are available in the market are made of different material including CMC/PMC (ceramic/porcelain metal composite), gold or a tin or aluminum mixture and even more.
  2. Veneers: Veneers are meant for the front portion of your teeth. They are artificial covers for your decaying and damaged teeth too (like crowns). The only difference is that a slight portion of your enamel (and not the tooth itself) needs to be scrapped in order to apply veneers.
  3. Implant: Dental implants are one the latest effective and popular techniques of lost teeth restoration. They are basically posts made of titanium that are embedded into the jawbone over which artificial tooth crowns are placed.
  4. Dentures: Dentures are essentially a set of artificial teeth that are attached to your palatal surface. So if you lost more than one tooth, dentures are your right choice.

A knowledge of the different variants of oral surgeries would indeed help you during your decision making phase, while you are in need of any such treatments. However, this post has specifically dental with dental surgeries, which only constitutes a major part of your oral health. A set of healthy and beautiful teeth in fact, speaks volumes about a good oral health.

How does Fluoride Help in Dealing with Tooth Sensitivity?

Why does teeth turn sensitive at all?

Sugary and acidic foods are the prime responsible factors for damaging the tooth’s enamel. The outer covering or layering of our tooth is called the enamel. It is said that enamel is even stronger than bones that are made of calcium! While citrus fruits and other acidic foods attack the tooth’s enamel directly, sugary items like candies, soda, sweetened chewing gums, jams, berries, etc break down into acids inside the mouth. This is because, certain bacteria inside your mouth feasts on the carbohydrate supplies that are obtained from these foods. This turns them into acids which in turn attacks the tooth enamel.

Once the outer protective layer, that is the enamel is under attack and is worn out partly, the tooth becomes highly susceptible to cavities and decay.

So, what is the exact role of fluoride in the entire episode of dental health?

Our saliva contains calcium and phosphate which continuously bathes our teeth and keeps it healthy and protected. When fluoride steps in through various sources like toothpaste and drinking water, it combines with these salivary minerals to form the compound ‘fluoroapetite’. it forms the best defense against the cavity causing bacteria within your mouth!

Reliable Sources of Fluoride for Your Teeth

Fluoride can be obtained from several sources such as:

      • Foods with a fluoride content
      • Drinking water supplies (often the local municipality supply) is often fluoride infused and therefore healthy for your teeth
      • A tooth containing fluoride, especially one that comes with the ADA (American Dental Association) seal on it.
      • Fluoride treatments received in-office.

Foods that Contain Fluoride:

      • Tea as well as coffee
      • Water and the foods that are prepared in that water
      • Foods like potatoes, grapes and shrimps etc.
      • fish eaten along with their bones
      • infant formula

Besides taking this list into your knowledge, you must realize that, we are unable to determine whether our body is getting the adequate amount of fluoride. The easiest remedy to this is getting an ADA approved in-office fluoride treatment, where the right levels of fluoride are determined by your dentist before being applied on your teeth.

How is Fluoride Treatment Administered In-Office?

A professional fluoride treatment may be administered by your dentist in several forms, such as: gels, varnishes, foam or a highly concentrated rinse. To apply the treatment in-office, your dentist uses a tray, mouthwash, swab or a brush. The fluoride concentration in these products are much higher than that available in the OTC (over-the-counter) toothpastes.They take only a few minutes to apply and for the next 30 minutes, you are simply asked to avoid eating or drinking. That is enough for the fluoride to get fully absorbed.

Depending on the status of the oral health however, the frequency of fluoride treatment is determined. It may be recommended every three, six or twelve months. Additionally, preventive measures may also be suggested by the expert, if you are at a high risk of developing caries!

Teeth Discolorization : Common Causes & Remedies

 

Tooth staining is usually a common problem. Everybody’s teeth stain gradually over time. If dental enamel became more porous it attracts stains from all the food and drinks you consume. And those who regularly smoke and drink red wine or coffee for them the stain become deeper.

Other than eating and smoking habit there are some other factors which can cause and aggravate tooth staining, including age, starting color, translucency and thinness, drugs and chemicals, grinding, and trauma.

Co-relation Between Ageing & Teeth Staining: 

A direct correlation exists between tooth color and age. Usually, the older the teeth the more the teeth are stained due to accumulation and general wear and tear. Teenagers will likely experience immediate, drastic results from whitening because their teeth have not accumulated a large build up of stains. In the twenties when the teeth begin to show a yellow cast, teeth-whitening may require slightly more effort. Teeth in their forties begin to change hues from yellow to brown, indicating more maintenance in teeth-whitening efforts. By the fifties, the teeth have absorbed a host of stubborn stains which can prove difficult, but not impossible, to remove.

The starting color of teeth varies from person to person and ranges from yellow-brownish to greenish-grey and becomes more pronounced as we age. Yellow-brown is generally more responsive to bleaching efforts than green-gray.

The genetic traits of translucency and thinness become more apparent over time. While all teeth show some translucency, those that are opaque and thick have an advantage: they appear lighter in color, show more sparkle and are more responsive to bleaching. However, teeth that are thinner and more transparent (most apparent in the front teeth) may not be able to be bleached as the teeth lack the necessary pigment. According to cosmetic dentists, transparency is the only condition that cannot be corrected by any form of teeth whitening.

Some Causes of Teeth Discoloration:

  • Eating habits are a contributing factor in tooth staining. The habitual consumption of red wine, coffee, tea, cola, carrots, oranges, and other deeply-colored beverages and foods causes considerable staining over the years. Enamel erosion is caused, in part, by consuming citrus fruits, vinegar, and other acidic items. When combined, these two factors cause the surface of the tooth to become more transparent and more of the yellow colored dentin shows through.
  • Smoking habits can alter the color of teeth. Smoking has been proven to leave brownish deposits which slowly soak into the tooth structure and cause intrinsic discoloration.
  • Drugs and chemicals can have an adverse effect on tooth color. The antibiotic tetracycline when used during a child’s formative years, produces dark grey or brown ribbon stains which are extremely difficult to remove. Excessive consumption of fluoride causes a condition known as fluorosis which is associated with areas of mottling.
  • Grinding your teeth can affect tooth color. Most frequently caused by stress, teeth grinding can add to micro-cracking in the teeth and can cause the biting edges to darken.

Prevention & Treatment:

Coffee, tea, colas, smoke, acidic juices, certain medications, and highly pigmented foods play havoc on the pearly whites. Tooth staining can be prevented with proper oral hygiene. Treatment like Sealing or bonding may be used to protect teeth from wear and tear. But these procedures are permanent or semi-permanent.

There are certain natural ways for teeth whitening which can be followed at home. Not all tooth discolorations respond to whitening treatments, however.

There also remain many over-the-counter products can eliminate tooth discoloration. A person will usually see results after 1–2 weeks, though there is no guarantee.

Some of the over the counter product includes:

  • whitening mouthwashes and rinses containing hydrogen peroxide
  • whitening toothpastes containing sodium hypochlorite
  • whitening strips containing carbamide peroxide
  • tray whitening systems containing carbamide peroxide bleaching gel

There are several natural remedies and teeth whitening products available. However, the treatment provided by a dentist is much stronger compared to any natural home remedies. But to prevent your teeth from staining follow a consistent oral health routine which includes twice-daily tooth brushing and daily flossing, a twice-yearly visit to a dentist near you, restraining from smoking and limiting your consumption of teeth-staining beverages.

Some health issues related to your Oral Hygiene

Since I am kind of an introvert, social gatherings don’t attract me much. Office parties are equally boring. It was only this year that I had some different experience as I got to meet someone from a different field of expertise. He was a friend of my boss. He happened to be an assistant in a dental office.

We were discussing work-life hassles casually. I was suffering from a bad headache since the past few months and was telling the same to him. It was then that I came to know about his profession. In lending me a piece of advice on dealing with my headache, Mr. Richard (the friend of my boss), went on to explain how a person’s dental health could trigger several other health issues!

Interestingly enough, I not only listened to whatever Mr. Richard related that day, but also came back home and researched a lot on the topic.

How does your oral health interfere in your overall well-being?

You can consider the mouth to be like a “window” to your inner body. Since the oral cavity is hugely responsible for whatever enters your body, a good oral care is crucially necessary for maintaining a healthy body. Lack of proper brushing and flossing can lead to building up of plaque inside your mouth. Remember, not only the number of times you brush is important, but also the duration for which you brush!

Oral Hygiene To-Dos for a better living 

  1. Brushing at bedtime is a must– It is essential to get rid of the germs and plaque that accumulates in between our teeth all through the day. So, brushing before going to your bed is a golden habit for your oral well-being
  2. Clean your tongue too– Gently brush your tongue each time you brush your teeth, because, plaque can build up in the tongue also, thereby causing a foul breadth.
  3. Use fluoride containing toothpaste– Fluoride has been clinically proven to be most effective in fighting germs and preventing tooth decay. Therefore, fluoride is an important factor to be considered, much more than the whitening powers or flavors of your toothpastes!
  4. Flossing once regularly – Flossing is not only needed to get rid of the tiny bits of food from between the teeth gaps, but it also stimulates your gums thus keeping them active. Even older people with arthritis who find it painful to floss should try to do it just for once in a day, even if for a lesser duration.
  5. A mouthwash– When flossing becomes too difficult or painful for any other dental issue, a mouthwash does the job. Make sure you make use of either of these for an enhanced oral care!
  6. Avoid sugary and acidic foods– Foods with a high sugar content turn acidic inside the mouth. Acid adversely affects the teeth enamel by eroding it partly. Therefore, too much of not only citrus foods, but also sugary juices harm your teeth! Even if you are consuming them, preferably get your teeth brushed and your mouth cleaned thoroughly after having them.

So what happens when you neglect your oral health?

When bacteria builds up to such a level, that it spreads and enters your body, you might be in serious trouble! Let us check out the various health issues that are related to your oral health, in this post:

  • Premature Birth:  Medical issues like premature birth or low birth weight are often related to oral illnesses like periodontitis (inflammation of the gums caused by bacterial infection.)
  • Endiocarditis:  Endocardium is the inner lining of your heart. An infection in this area is known as endocarditis. It occurs when germs from other parts of the body, such as the mouth, spread through the bloodstream and attach the damaged areas of the heart!
  • Heart diseases:  Research suggests that certain cardiovascular problems could be related to oral infections.
  • Dementia:   Bacteria from gingivitis may enter the brain through the nerve channels in the head or through the bloodstream. This might lead to the development of an Alzheimer’s disease.

Now, conversely, there are certain health conditions that affect your dental health condition. In fact, the number of illnesses than can adversely affect oral health are indeed many. To list a few among them are:

Diabetes:  Raised blood sugar levels puts the gums at greater risk. Therefore, people with diabetes are found to be more prone to periodontal diseases than others,

HIV/AIDS:  Oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions, are common in people who have HIV/AIDS.

Osteoporosis:  Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become weak and brittle. Therefore, it is often responsible for loss of jawbone mass and tooth loss as a consequence.

Alzheimer’s disease:  People with Alzheimer’s disease face this. As the alzheimer’s disease progresses, a person oral health deteriorates too.

As mentioned above there are many other conditions that render oral problems. For instance, the Sjogren’s Syndrome is an immune system disorder that causes dry mouth syndrome in the victim. A good oral hygiene is therefore almost a dire necessity, if you wish to stay fresh and healthy for as long as you can.

 

 

The River Within

Have you ever stood beside a rushing river and watched the current carry wood and leaves quickly past? Your blood pulses through your body at a similar pace. Every twenty seconds, blood completes a round trip from head to toe. This closed system averages 100,000 miles of veins, arteries, and capillaries and delivers many vital components to sustain life.

Sometimes the system breaks open and dangerous invaders enter the bloodstream. While we often think of a cut or scrape on the skin as the entry point, the lining of the mouth offers an ideal backdoor. Over thirty square inches of tissue cover the mouth and provide a home to billions of bacteria. A unique collar of gum tissue surrounds each of the teeth, and a few potent strains of bacteria can take up residence in this hidden enclave. These microorganisms produce toxins, and the immune system reacts to them with a rush of inflammation. The delicate vessels of the gums deteriorate from the reaction, and bleeding begins.

It doesn’t take long for potent bacteria to enter the river of life. Within seconds, they’re reaching the fine vessels of the brain and slipping through the coronary arteries. They’re meandering into joints, organs, and fetuses of expectant mothers. In 2010, scientists at Case Western Reserve University were asked to investigate a stillborn case in a 35-year old mother who suffered from gum disease. Plaque samples from the woman’s teeth tested positive for the precise strain of oral bacteria discovered in the stomach and lungs of the fetus.

“Once the bacteria are in the blood, they can go almost anywhere,” Yiping Han, a Case Western Reserve professor of periodontics and pathology said. “The placenta is an immuno-suppressed organ, compared to other organs like the liver and the spleen. And that makes it easy for the bacteria to colonize the placenta.”

While this single case shouldn’t create anxiety for expectant mothers, it highlights the importance of dental health. Oral bacteria may aggravate the body in different ways, and damage may come in various forms. From a 30,000 foot view, chronic inflammation anywhere in the body can exacerbate other conditions. Diabetes is known to worsen gum disease, but the opposite is also true: Gum disease negatively influences control of blood sugar. On a microscopic level, oral bacteria have been identified in the lining of damaged coronary arteries.

Read More: Periodontitis is stated to be the sixth complication of diabetes. Prevalence of severe periodontitis in diabetics as compared to non-diabetics has been found to be 59.6%

Cancer, Too?

As the search for a cancer cure intensifies, a preventive focus still promises the best defense against the disease. While many people don’t correlate unhealthy gums with cancer, recent research does draw a link. In a study of 48,000 men, those with a history of gum disease carried a 36 percent increased risk of lung cancer, a 49 percent increased risk of kidney cancer, and a 54 percent higher risk of pancreatic cancer. We still don’t know all the reasons why, but saving your teeth could mean saving your life.

If bleeding gums could be patched together, they’d be equivalent to a 2×2 inch open wound on the skin. Saturated with bacteria, a gash of this size anywhere on the body needs attention. When gum disease remains uncontrolled in the mouth, the door stays open indefinitely as a large wound. As a result, a steady supply of bacteria ends up in areas of the body they don’t belong.

Here’s To Your Health

Every effort you make to keep your mouth healthy helps ensure you’ll keep your teeth for the rest of your life. The evidence continues to build that a preventive focus may add years to your life, too. Dental care that combines your efforts with our periodic oversight will keep you smiling and active for years to come!