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Why A Healthy Mouth Is Important?

 

What does the health of your mouth have to do with your overall health? In a word, plenty. A look inside or a swab of saliva can tell your doctor volumes about what's going on inside your body. Your mouth is a window into what's going on in the rest of your body, often serving as a helpful vantage point for detecting the early signs and symptoms of systemic disease — a disease that affects or pertains to your entire body, not just one of its parts. Systemic conditions such as AIDS or diabetes, for example, often first become apparent as mouth lesions or other oral problems. In fact, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, more than 90 percent of all systemic diseases produce oral signs and symptoms.

 

Regular dental visits are important because they help keep your teeth and gums healthy. You should have a regular dental visit at least every 6 months. There are 2 parts to a regular dental visit. One part is the check-up. The other is the cleaning. Your dental professional will check for cavities and to see if there is plaque or tartar on your teeth. Plaque is a clear, sticky layer of bacteria. If it is not removed, it can harden and become tartar. You cannot remove tartar with brushing and flossing. If plaque and tartar build up on your teeth, they can cause oral diseases. Next, your gums will be checked. This will be done with a special tool to measure the spaces between your teeth and gums. With healthy gums, the spaces are shallow. When people have gum disease, the spaces may become deeper. Brushing and flossing help clean the plaque from your teeth, but you can't remove tartar at home. During the cleaning, your dental professional will use special tools called dental ultrasonic scaler to remove tartar. This is called scaling. After your teeth are scaled, they may be polished. In most cases, a gritty paste is used for this. It helps to remove any surface stains on your teeth.

If you don't brush and floss regularly to keep your teeth clean, plaque can build up along your gumline, creating an environment for additional bacteria to accumulate in the space between your gums and your teeth. This gum infection is known as gingivitis. Left unchecked, gingivitis can lead to a more serious gum infection called periodontitis. The most severe form of gum infection is called acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, also known as trench mouth.

Bacteria from your mouth normally don't enter your bloodstream. However, invasive dental treatments  such as dental handpiece sterilization— sometimes even just routine brushing and flossing if you have gum disease — can provide a port of entry for these microbes. Medications or treatments that reduce saliva flow and antibiotics that disrupt the normal balance of bacteria in your mouth can also compromise your mouth's normal defenses, allowing these bacteria to enter your bloodstream.

 

If you have a healthy immune system, the presence of oral bacteria in your bloodstream causes no problems. Your immune system quickly dispenses with them, preventing infection. However, if your immune system is weakened, for example because of a disease or cancer treatment, oral bacteria in your bloodstream (bacteremia) may cause you to develop an infection in another part of your body. Infective endocarditis, in which oral bacteria enter your bloodstream and stick to the lining of diseased heart valves, is an example of this phenomenon.

 


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