This time of year we may be eating more sweets than normal, so it’s important to keep up with our oral cleaning. Brushing and flossing are normal oral health habits we do each and every day. But, oral hygiene goes beyond keeping our pearly whites cavity-free. Research shows that our oral health affects more than our mouth, it influences the health of our whole body. There are ailments and illnesses that have been linked to bacteria and poor oral health. Neurodegenerative diseases, autoimmune disorders, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer to name a few.
Other studies acknowledge that the P. gingivalis bacteria present in gum disease is evident in the brains of people with Alzeheimer. What you may not know is that bacteria can migrate from our mouth to our brain, destroying cells and nerves.
The number of bacteria in our oral cavity is enormous. We have thousands of species of bacteria and colonies of microorganisms breeding in our mouths. You can have anywhere from 1000 to one billion bacteria residing peacefully in your mouths. When you swallow these bacteria, it ends up in your gut and hence into your bloodstream where it can wreak more havoc.
The good news is that we can do things now to prevent further complications due to bacterial overgrowth in our mouths. It’s recommended that we get our teeth cleaned every six months. Be diligent about keeping these appointments. If Alzheimer’s is present in your family line, then extra care is needed. Brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing daily will not only remove plaque, but will stimulate the gums to keep them healthy, prevent bad breath and cavities and importantly prevent gum disease.
You can also maintain control of bacteria by being mindful of what you eat. Starchy and sugary food encourages bacteria growth so a diet change might be in order. Probiotics are good bacteria that can help with oral issues. Bottom line is, if we want to avoid or prevent serious illness, we need to keep our mouth healthy.