Why Preventive Dentistry is Your Most Important Health Care
Medical studies have shown that people who see their dentist for regular preventive care live an average of ten years longer than people who don’t. Surprised, you shouldn’t be here’s why. The oral cavity is the prime entry way to the body, a dirty mouth smells bad, looks bad and is unattractive to say the least. If the oral cavity is not regularly and thoroughly cleaned at home and professionally in the dental office it is only a matter of time before the consequences of neglect will become manifest in any number of ways. All our lives we are fighting against the microbes, germs are all around us in every space imaginable. It is only because our immune system is constantly fighting the battle against the germs, and for the most part winning, that we stay alive. Once our immune system cells become outnumbered by the bacterial invaders, do we succumb and die, it is all a numbers game.
Our digestive tract starts in the mouth and extends through our body and exits through the rectum, bacteria inhabit the entire system, but there are more of them in the lower digestive tract than in the mouth. Fifty percent of fecal matter is composed of germs. That is why it stinks; the same germs in the mouth can make it stink too when the numbers of these germs become too great from lack of cleaning. Gum disease and tooth decay are caused by these germs. Gum disease occurs when bacteria that are not cleaned away sufficiently begin to burrow into the gum tissue and get into the blood stream becoming transported throughout the rest of the body. Such germs have been linked to heart disease and stroke where they contribute to cardiovascular disease by increasing inflammation of blood vessels. These same germs increase the severity of diabetes and make controlling blood sugar more difficult for diabetics. These same germs can be inhaled into the lungs causing or contributing to lung diseases as bronchitis, pneumonia, and asthma. Untreated gum disease is usually painless, but is equivalent to having a nine square inch open wound on the skin where bacterial invaders have easy access to the blood stream and can invade other body organs causing or contributing to systemic diseases.
Untreated, painless, easily ignored, gum disease can kill a debilitated person with a compromised immune system, say in a nursing home. The immune system could be controlling the bacterial invaders satisfactorily, until for example, the person develops a bed sore in the skin that allows more germs to invade the blood system, and then the immune cells have to fight the war on two or more fronts and can become overwhelmed. If the bacterial numbers cannot be controlled with antibiotics giving the immune cells added help the body can become septic and the individual dies of Gum Disease! A healthy mouth is the best way to overall health, that’s why your dentist is the most important doctor you will ever see to prevent future disease in the mouth and throughout the body.