Oral Bacteria – The Source Of Problems (in the mouth & beyond)

Posted on Oct 06, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Our bodies are full of bacteria. Certain bacteria are good, such as bacteria in the gut. This is why some people take a probiotic supplement to ensure they have a sufficient level so digestion functions efficiently.

While bacteria in our bodies is a fact of life, it is our job to control the levels. By eating a proper diet, keeping our bodies clean and tending to cuts and illnesses, we support our health with bacteria levels under control.

Too much bacteria sends signals to us. For example, if you don’t take a shower for several days, the bacteria buildup on skin creates an odor. An excess of bacteria in the mouth sends signals, also.

Saliva in the mouth is designed to help wash away some of the oral bacteria that occurs from food particles left behind. Our job is to remove this debris on a daily basis before oral bacteria begin a come-one-come-all feast. Brushing and flossing help accomplish this.

Bacteria are living organisms. They eat, reproduce and excrete waste. As they multiply, they form colonies that attack anything that can be consumed. This includes tooth enamel and gum tissues.

Saliva can only do so much. It’s ability to work efficiently can easily be hampered by factors that decrease saliva production. These include smoking, some medications, mouth breathing, drinking alcoholic beverages and some illnesses.

Your mouth will send signals when too much bacteria has accumulated. Your breath will smell bad and your gums may become sore and bleed when brushing. When prompt action is not taken to conquer the overload of bacteria, the destruction continues and becomes more severe.

As oral bacteria eat away at tooth enamel and gum tissues, cavities occur and gum disease penetrates tissues at a deeper level. Pus pockets form at the base of teeth, gums turn a darker color and teeth eventually begin to loosen. Periodontal (gum) disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.

Yet, oral bacteria from gum disease can cause problems far beyond the mouth. They can become bloodborne through tears in diseased gum tissues. Research has found that oral bacteria can trigger inflammatory reactions that put your overall health at risk. Oral bacteria has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, arthritis, diabetes, preterm babies and impotency.

The health problems that originate with oral bacteria can so easily be avoided. Twice daily brushing, flossing daily, drinking plenty of water and seeing a general dentist twice a year can help keep oral bacteria levels under control. These simple measures are so minimal when considering the broad spectrum of problems they can help you avoid.

If your mouth is sending you warning signs – persistent bad breath and sore and bleeding gums – act promptly to avoid much in time and expense while protecting your overall health.

As a dental specialist with advanced training and skills to treat gum disease, a Periodontist is your partner in helping you restore a healthy mouth and maintaining it.

Call 828-274-9440 to schedule an examination. And, the sooner the better. Gum disease will only worsen without treatment.

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