We all know the human mouth is a gross place. Have you ever seen a science program test human saliva versus any other animal, like a dog? Our mouths have far more bacteria in them than many of our animal counterparts!
All that bacteria in your mouth isn’t a plus for your health. In fact, many of the strains of bacteria that call our teeth and gums home are downright dangerous. We’ve been preventing oral health problems at our New Albany dentist office for years, but what happens when you don’t get the treatment you need in time?
Oral Bacteria In Your Body: How Does It Spread?
You might think that oral bacteria is safely isolated to your mouth, where it can only do harm to your teeth and gums. The truth of the matter is far more serious – your oral health has a direct effect on your body in a lot of different ways.
In order for oral bacteria to do harm to the rest of your body it needs to find a way into your bloodstream. It can do that pretty easily if you’re suffering from cavities or gum disease. Cavities that reach the root of a tooth have access to veins that keep teeth alive, and one of the earliest symptoms of gum disease is bleeding. In short, it doesn’t take that much for oral bacteria to start circulating around and causing trouble.
What Oral Bacteria Does To Your Body
Aside from destroying teeth, gums, and bone, oral bacteria has been directly linked to a number of deadly health conditions. To make matters worse, it seems like every few months there’s a new connection formed linking oral bacteria to something else that could jeopardize your health!
- One of the most common complications of advanced gum disease is chronic inflammation. The constant swelling of your gums increases the amount of inflammatory markers in your blood: the very same markers that are responsible for the development of heart disease. Untreated gum disease is a significant risk factor for heart attacks.
- Kidney disease weakens your immune system, which in turn can lead to gum disease. Statistics have found that patients suffering from both conditions have much higher mortality rates than those who have kidney disease and healthy mouths.
- Strokes are one of the most terrifying medical emergencies that can happen. Streptococcus mutans, a strain of bacteria commonly found in the mouth, greatly increases the chances of having a hemorrhagic stroke. It binds to weak blood vessels in the brain, spreading until it causes them to rupture.
- Pancreatic cancer patients have unique oral bacteria profiles, suggesting that the kind of bacteria you carry can increase your risks of developing it. The key to eliminating that risk is keeping bacteria out of your bloodstream!
- When samples are taken from the throats of esophageal cancer patients the cancerous cells are covered in oral bacteria, while healthy cells are relatively untouched. Whether bacteria is causing cancer or aiding in its spread isn’t known, but there is definitely a negative connection.
- Breast cancer patients who also suffer from gum disease have much higher mortality rates than those with healthy mouths.
- Gum disease patients have much higher amounts of oral bacteria in their mouths than healthy people. They’re also more likely to inhale bacteria into their lungs, and some of the strains can cause conditions like pneumonia and MRSA. This can easily be fatal for older, less healthy patients.
What You Can Do To Minimize Your Risk
No one is immune to gum disease or tooth decay, but there is a lot you can do to make your chances of developing smaller.
- Make sure you practice good oral hygiene at home, especially if you’re an at-risk patient. Brush twice a day and floss every night, no exceptions. For added benefit use an anti-gingivitis toothpaste – they can kill excess bacteria and control its spread.
- Eliminate lifestyle risk factors like smoking, eating too much sugary food, and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. Be sure to follow up a meal by rinsing your mouth out with mouthwash or water.
- Make sure you’re seeing us at New Albany Implants for twice yearly exams. Even when oral bacteria can’t be seen doing damage it’s still able to cause problems. Prevent them with early detection and treatment!
Your Oral – And Bodily – Health Is Up To You
With so much riding on a healthy mouth you don’t want to take chances. Take the time to protect your teeth, gums, and body: call us today. You can request an appointment online or by phone at (812) 945-7645. We look forward to seeing you!