Several hundred species of bacteria live in the mouth at any given time. These bacteria use sugars in foods to create acid, attacking teeth and eventually causing cavities. Moreover, these bacteria create a sticky, colourless film called a plaque biofilm. Regular brushing and flossing remove plaque, but any remaining on your teeth quickly harden into tartar and can only be removed during your professional dental cleaning. The longer plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the more harm they can do. The bacteria in plaque and tartar cause inflammation and infection in your gums, causing a condition called gum disease or periodontitis. The initial stages of this disease are reversible with improved oral care, but without prompt treatment the inflammation and infection can become severe, breaking down your gums, the bone around your teeth and the connective tissues holding them in place. This isn’t the only problem with gum disease.
We now know that many general health problems are linked to oral health problems. Poor oral health is associated with major chronic diseases. These diseases include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney disease, respiratory diseases, stroke, dementia, and peripheral vascular disease. Pregnant women with advanced periodontal disease are more at risk of having a premature baby and a low birthweight baby. Often, general health problems will show up in the mouth as people with diabetes are more likely to have infections like oral thrush. Many medications for health problems lead to a problem called dry mouth which increases the risk of periodontal disease and tooth decay.
Maintaining Healthy Gums and Better Overall Health
Your regular dental check-ups and hygiene appointments are every bit as important as your regular health checks with your GP for maintaining optimal oral and general health. When you see us regularly here at Dr Smile, we can monitor your oral health closely, and your check-ups include screenings for oral cancer. We can provide you with a custom dental plan aimed at preventing dental disease, helping you to enjoy the benefits of a healthy mouth and better overall health.