Your mouth is completely filled with oral bacteria. From the moment you’re born your mouth contains hundreds of bacteria strains that will be with you for life, and plenty more are added as you are exposed to the world.
While many of the strains in your mouth are completely harmless there are some that can do serious damage. In most circumstances that bacteria stays confined to your mouth, but all it takes is a little bit in your bloodstream to cause problems throughout your body. At Really Smile we feel that it’s our responsibility to warn you of the health risks posed by oral bacteria. We want you to have a lifetime of healthy smiles, and that can only happen if we help you keep it that way!
How Oral Bacteria Gets Into Your Blood
Have you ever bled when brushing your teeth? If so you’re probably seeing the earliest signs of gum disease. It starts small with just a bit of bacteria under your gums, and as it progresses you end up with swollen, sensitive, red, and receding gums that are constantly letting bacteria pour into your bloodstream and spread throughout your body.
Because bleeding happens so early in the course of gum disease it’s the most common way for bacteria to spread around your body. It isn’t the only way, however, and in many cases severe cavities cause it as well. If you’ve ever had a persistent toothache then decay has probably reached the root of a tooth, which is filled with blood vessels. Bacteria has ready access to your circulatory system when a cavity becomes that deep.
What Happens Once Bacteria Gets Around?
When oral bacteria spreads into your blood it has the potential to cause problems everywhere. Certain strains are known to cause certain conditions, so not everyone is at risk for the same complications.
- Heart disease is probably the most common complication for people suffering from poor oral health. The worst part is that bacteria doesn’t even need to make it into your blood to cause this serious problem – all it takes is the chronic inflammation that comes with gum disease. Inflammatory markers in your blood, which gum disease causes a lot of, are also a common cause of heart disease.
- Kidney disease patients suffer from immune system problems, which increases the risk of developing gum disease and cavities. If you suffer from kidney disease your chance of dying from the condition skyrockets with if you also have poor oral health!
- Hemorrhagic strokes are often caused by oral bacteria, specifically the strain known as Streptococcus mutans. S. mutans loves to latch on to weakened blood vessels in the brain, where it reproduces and grows until it causes a rupture.
- Recent studies point to a link between oral bacteria and the speed of Alzheimer’s development. Patients who have Alzheimer’s and poor oral health have much higher fatality rates and will experience faster mental decline than those with healthy mouths.
- Breast cancer patients have been found to have much higher rates of gum disease, which can make the condition more dangerous.
- Esophageal cancer has been shown to attract oral bacteria. Samples of throat tissue from esophageal cancer patients reveals an incredibly high concentration of oral bacteria on cancer cells, but no excess on neighboring healthy tissue. This suggests that oral bacteria is either causing the development of cancer or is part of its growth.
- Pancreatic cancer patients often have completely unique microbiomes (bacteria populations) in their mouths. When these particular strains get into the blood it’s a severe risk for the development of cancer.
How To Protect Your Mouth And Body
Keeping yourself healthy doesn’t need to be a challenge. In fact, it’s easy to maintain good oral health by following a few simple guidelines.
- Brush your teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste. Make sure you don’t brush too hard and always use a soft bristled brush.
- Floss every night. The spaces between your teeth are particularly vulnerable to gum disease and decay. You have to be sure you’re cleaning them daily or else problems will develop.
- Don’t forget to make regular checkup appointments at our Carmel office. Cleanings and exams twice a year are a fundamental part of good oral health!
Ready To Commit To Good Oral Health?
We’re ready to see you as soon as you’re ready to be seen! If you want to schedule an appointment at Really Smile Dentistry don’t wait another day – call us now! You can reach our Carmel office at 317-451-4050 or you can request an appointment online. We look forward to seeing you soon!