Sunday, February 28

Brush and Floss Your Teeth!

Plenty of evidence now shows that the state of your teeth and gums
have a serious impact on your overall health, writes DR MERVYN DRUIAN.
Gum disease, for example, is linked to a raised risk of heart disease, stroke
and premature birth. Here's why you should make sure you are up-to-date with
your dental appointments.
It sounds unlikely, but bad teeth, bleeding gums and poor dental hygiene
can end up causing heart disease.
Several studies confirm a link between gum disease and atherosclerosis,
a narrowing of the blood vessels that can lead to heart attack.
The problem is that bleeding gums provide an entry into the blood for up to
700 different types of bacteria found in the mouth. Microbiologists at the
University of Bristol have discovered that when bacteria get into the bloodstream,
they stick to tiny fragments called platelets, causing them to clot. This can lead to
partial blockages of blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart disease and heart
So it does not matter how fit, slim or healthy you are, your chances of getting heart
disease are increased by having bad teeth.

Brush your teeth well and floss regularly to protect your brain. Poor tooth brushing
and bleeding, infected gums raises your risk of stroke in the same way as it does
heart disease - by allowing bacteria into the bloodstream.
A study published in the journal Stroke found that stroke risk increases with the
severity of gum disease. Astonishingly, those with severe gum disease had more
than four times the risk of suffering a stroke than those with mild gum disease.

Research has long associated oral health with a raised risk of dementia, although
studies have not made it clear how the state of the teeth affect mental function.
Last year, researchers found a link between mild memory loss and gum disease.
A major health grant, welcomed by the British Dental Health Foundation, has
recently been given to help scientists study this link.

Bacteria in our mouths could play a direct part in causing obesity.
A study in the Journal of Dental Research found that one species of bacteria -
selenomona noxia - was present at above-average levels in all overweight
women. Whether or not this bacteria helps to cause obesity or hinders weight
loss is being researched.

Last month, research published from a study at New York University showed
that the overwhelming majority of gumdisease sufferers were also found to be
at high risk of developing diabetes. The link was so strong and significant that
researchers concluded that dentists should offer diabetes screenings in their

Pregnant women with high levels of oral bacteria linked to tooth decay and
cavities are at risk of giving birth to lowweight or premature babies.
The study, in the Journal of Periodontology, adds to a growing body of research
which shows a link between a pregnant woman's oral health and the health of
her newborn. Dr Dasanayake, professor of Dentistry at New York University, who
conducted the research, hypothesizes that caries causing bacteria can travel to the
uterus in the blood, where they trigger a reaction that leads to contractions and early
birth.The good news is that research at Columbia University College found that
dental care before or during pregnancy can significantly lower the risk of premature

Research indicates that inflammation of the gums and bleeding - which allows
oral bacteria to spread around the body in the blood - is linked to a raised risk
of serious health problems.Unfortunately, gum disease is common, yet unless
severe, it often goes unnoticed. In mild gum disease, you may have inflamed
gums but little bleeding. Only once it gets worse do people tend to take notice.
At this stage, your risk of health problems elsewhere is already higher.
Meanwhile, the infection in your gums will be causing gum recession and bone
loss, increasing the risk of cavities and tooth loss.
Good gum health is maintained through regular tooth brushing - twice daily -
and tooth flossing, ideally after every meal to remove food trapped between your
teeth. Crucially, you should see a dental hygienist every six months. Professional
tooth cleaning removes plaque, calcified deposits that build up on teeth and beneath
the gums. Preventing the build- up of this plaque is vital as bacteria thrive on it.
Left in place, even thorough tooth brushing and flossing is unlikely to keep your
gums healthy.


Travelin'Oma said...

Who knew so much could go wrong? I need full-time maintenance!

Kay Dennison said...

Good advice!!!!! However, I have to get Medicaid approval before I can do a damned thing and that takes months and still costs a lot! If you have dental insurance, you are blessed.

Gilly said...

I've just been to the Dentist and Oral Hgienist - but you scare me to death!

Think I'd be scared of getting dementia/Alzheimer's most of all.

Granny Annie said...

Neglect of our feet is supposed to cause as many health problems. Guess it's a top to bottom thing. My Bil the DDS appreciates all warnings about lack of dental care.

Grannymar said...

Don't remember if I left a comment..... senior moment! :(

Great advice today.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

I use those little plastic flossers and I set one beside my computer every evening. When I see it, I'm reminded to use it. I can floss while I play on the computer or watch TV.

Tracie said...

Great reminders on how important it is to look after your teeth!

LL Cool Joe said...

It seems sometimes that just about anything can cause death. Thanks for the advice. :)

Pat said...

To say nothing of halitosis:)

kenju said...

Pat: even the most scrupulous brushing and flossing cannot help some halitosis; I know, because I have it, no matter how much I brush, floss, scrape and brush my tongue and gargle with mouthwash. It must be my bad karma!

srp said...

There you have it.... the amazing preventative medicine .... brush your teeth and floss... let's see.... even if you used a toothbrush a month and a packet of floss every other month and even four tubes of toothpaste a year.... WOW! The government could give all of us the cash for these things and not have to increase taxes or implode our current health care..... someone call Washington!

OH! WAIT! They would still find a way to screw it up.

Palm Springs Savant said...

well said. good post KenJu

Grannymar said...

I once heard an eminent ENT Surgeon talking about Mouth issues. He said that Mouth washes were a waste of time and money as they only camouflage the problem. His solution..... Yes! Vinegar diluted in water. He also said those scrapers that they sell were dangerous and a soft toothbrush was ideal. Hope that helps.

Arkansas Patti said...

All things I had heard about, except dementia, and I have always been a fanatic about my teeth.
My grandmother was a stickler and preached to us kids. She had all her teeth at 94. She said fat lot of good it did her besides being able to chew well for everyone assumed they were false. Little did she know it probably led to her long life.

sage said...

Okay, I got to brush my teeth... having had so much dental work growing up, I keep a toothbrush at work and in my gym bag.

Linda said...

My dentist gave me this lecture just this week. I do my best because I want these chompers to last me the rest of my life.

srp said...

Oh, Judy... I planted some crocus in the front and they haven't come up yet. I was hoping they would get here by now!

I doubt I will be going to Reno very often if at all... it is hard to get away these days with my mom and dad...