Did you know that there are way more bacteria in your mouth than there are people on the planet? By some estimates: 120 BILLION bacteria can grow in 24 hours!
Germophobes might get a little skittish reading this, so it may make you feel better to know that most of them are harmless.
Typically, the body’s natural defenses and good oral health care — such as daily brushing and flossing — can keep these bacteria in check. However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease. After more than twenty years of practice I have also observed that oral health can act as a window to your overall health.
For example, your oral health might be affected by, may itself affect, or may contribute to, various diseases and conditions — including:
- Cardiovascular disease. Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.
- Endocarditis. Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart (endocardium). Endocarditis typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart.
- Pregnancy and birth. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
- Diabetes. Diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection — putting the gums at risk. Gum disease appears to be more frequent and severe among people who have diabetes. Research shows that people who have gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels.
- Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis — which causes bones to become weak and brittle — might be linked with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss.
- HIV/AIDS. Oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions, are common in people who have HIV/AIDS.
- Alzheimer’s disease. Tooth loss before age 35 might be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
- Other conditions. Other conditions that might be linked to oral health include Sjogren’s syndrome — an immune system disorder that causes dry mouth — and eating disorders.
Because bacteria can proliferate as quickly as they do, we now provide our patients with a way to minimize bacterial risks during their cleaning appointments. We have the ability to use a laser decontamination process that dramatically reduces bacterial levels in your gum pockets painlessly, without the need for anesthesia, and in as little time as 5 to 10 minutes. Better still, the lowered bacterial levels are expected to continue for six to eight weeks.
Unfortunately, dental insurance still tends to be a little behind the times in terms of their coverage for the procedure. We have kept the cost low, however, in order that most patients can benefit from this exciting new technology. You can read more about it by clicking HERE.