Oral Bacteria & Your Overall Health

As dentists, we spend lots of time educating our patients about the importance of taking care of their mouth, teeth, and gums. On the surface, we want to help you prevent bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease—all with the goal of helping you protect your teeth as you grow older. In addition to our work, researchers are discovering new reasons to brush, floss, and visit your dentist regularly. They are learning that having a healthy mouth can ward off more serious medical conditions at any stage in your life. An unhealthy mouth may increase your risk of health problems such as preterm labor, poorly controlled diabetes, and even heart attack and stroke.

Take it from Ashley, RDH, one of FDA’s own dental hygienists: “The mouth is a window to the rest of the body,” Ashley explains. “Oftentimes we see changes arise in the mouth before they are evident elsewhere in the body. Maintaining optimal oral health is crucial to overall health. Since the mouth is connected to the body we recognize that chronic inflammation or presence of disease isn’t just localized to the oral cavity, but has the potential to be linked to underlying conditions.”

Just as Ashley explains, your mouth can play a crucial role in learning more about your overall health. In fact, saliva is a great tool that can help detect a variety of substances such as certain cancer markers, cortisol levels, and can even be used to monitor bone loss in those prone to osteoporosis. Saliva is also a main defense against disease-causing organisms as it contains antibodies that can attack both viral pathogens and bacteria. However, saliva can’t always get the job done completely. Over 500 different species of bacteria thrive in your mouth at any given time and constantly form dental plaque. If you don’t brush and floss regularly, this plaque builds up along your gum line, opening the door for additional bacteria to accumulate in the space between your gums and teeth. This build-up leads to gingivitis, and can potentially lead to periodontitis.

Our gums are vascular and full of blood, so infections such as gingivitis and periodontitis can happen quickly. Once that gum layer is disrupted due to brushing, flossing, or an invasive dental treatment, bacteria can enter in the bloodstream, travel to any area of the body and potentially cause inflammation. Inflammation in the heart causes hardened arteries, or atherosclerosis, making it harder for blood to flow to the heart, increasing one’s chance of heart attack and stroke. Oral bacteria can also enter your bloodstream and stick to the lining of diseased heart valves, causing infective endocarditis.

Another important connection between oral health and overall health is that the bacteria connected to periodontal disease, streptococcus sanguis, plays a role in strokes. This bacteria can quickly spread to the heart through the gums, potentially causing a stroke. There is research to suggest that people with gum infections are at an increased risk of stroke and researchers mention that the more severe the infection, the greater the risk of stroke appears to be.

While the American Heart Association says there is no definitive, direct evidence that heart disease can be prevented by working to prevent gum disease, that doesn’t mean that it can’t help. That’s one reason why regular dental check-ups are important at any age.When was the last time you visited us? Schedule an appointment to get your gums checked out today!

You’ll never guess what we want to give you for Christmas…

At FDA we love this time of year. Celebrating with friends and family, festive decorations, cooking and eating traditional recipes, and of course, exchanging gifts.

Our gift to you is the something that we are certain you would never expect from us…CANDY! Yes, candy. But not just any candy…

Researchers are developing a new candy that is actually GOOD for your oral health!

Now, we understand that you are probably thinking one of three things:

  1. Healthy candy? Yea right…that is way too good to be true.
  2. Any healthy candy has got to taste absolutely disgusting.
  3. This is some sick Christmas joke.

However, we are not joking, this candy is in fact REAL and we are telling the TRUTH!! Simply put, an ingredient in the candy has proven to reduce levels of bad, cavity-causing bacteria in mouths. Also, sugar-free candy such as this one actually stimulates saliva production which is good for oral health.

Let’s explain this a little further…

Our mouths are comprised of a delicate balance of good and bad bacteria. When we clean our teeth, the aim is to get rid of cavity-causing bacteria while allowing good bacteria to thrive.

Now, researchers have developed this sugar-free candy. The research team, led by Christine Lang, believes that this good bacteria in the candy binds with the harmful bacteria in the mouth and prevents it from reattaching to the teeth. Without the ability to latch onto teeth, saliva washes the bad bacteria away and potential for developing cavities declines. Seems to make sense, right?

Lang and her team used 60 subjects in their initial trial. Twenty subjects ate candy with 1mg of good bacteria, another twenty subjects ate candy with 2mg of good bacteria, and the remaining twenty subjects ate candy that tasted similar, but contained no good bacteria (the control group).

In total, each subject ate five candies during the course of the 1.5-day experiment. They were not allowed to perform any oral hygiene activities during this time, and they were also not allowed to consume coffee, tea, wine or probiotic foods.

Results showed that nearly 75% of the participants who ate candies with the good bacteria had “significantly lower” levels of bad bacteria in their saliva than before, compared with the control group. Additionally, the subjects who ate candy with 2 mg of good bacteria had a reduction in bad bacteria levels after eating only one piece of candy.

So, we are telling you the truth! Sugar-free candy that actually benefits your mouth and potentially reduces risk of cavities may not be far away.

Merry Christmas to all!!


Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/269685.php?utm_campaign=webinar%2520promotion&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=11371487&_hsenc=p2ANqtz–KzY1yjt8pP671JS6XiUPLxRkWXOdqrCBS0U3gyYDJWBH-kYtaCAK_WzNWE59EGrXjbxATQbCf–WCEMg2BlcyaP0SXQ&_hsmi=11371487