Preventive Dentistry + Health


PREVENTIVE DENTISTRY & HEALTH

Evidence exists showing a strong association between chronic dental infections (gingivitis, periodontitis and peri-apical infections) and general disease in other parts of the body.

Similarly there is evidence to show an association between good oral health and good general health.

It is normal to have a mix of good and bad bacteria in the mouth. Dental plaque forms on teeth every day. New dental plaque consists of predominantly good bacteria that offers protection by not allowing more aggressive bacteria to colonise the area.

Undisturbed old plaque is predominantly pathogenic bacteria causing oral and general (systemic) disease. Studies show that dental plaque left undisturbed for two weeks will progressively become more pathogenic causing a gum infection called gingivitis. If allowed to accumulate for longer the infection will spread and destroy the bone holding the teeth.
Infection involving the bone around teeth is called periodontitis.

The safest way to make new plaque is to mechanically disturb plaque with good daily brushing and thorough cleaning between teeth using floss or toothpicks.

For people with normal mouths, the use of mouth rinses are not recommended as these rinses affect both good and bad bacteria in the mouth equally.

The risk of poor general health increases when old pathogenic plaque is allowed to accumulate and left undistrurbed on teeth at the gum line. Bacteria causing gingivitis may enter the blood stream and lodge in or infect organs of the body.
Pathogenic oral bacteria can be culturedin cholestorol deposits that block arteries, in infected artificial joints and in heart valves.

People with bad gums and infections from diseased nerves have a higher statistical incidence of :-

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Miscarriages, preterm births and low birth weight
  • Infections in artificial joints
  • Chronic inflammatory disease (arthritis)
  • Respiratory disease
  • Aspirational pneumonia in the elderly
  • Aspirational pneumonia following operations
  • Cancers
  • Cognitive impairment

People who are immuno-suppressed, have heart disease, diabetes, pregnant, have had artificial joints within the past 2 years or are about to have an operation under general anesthesia are advised to have a full dental examination.

It is important to reduce or eliminate as much bacterial loading as possible from gums or from existing dental infections in order to minimise the risk of bacteremia(bacteria entering the blood stream) in patients with these conditions.

A generalcleaning and elimination of any source of oral or dental infection is essential for people with these problems.

Instruction and advice on home cleaning isjust as important in order to prevent future general health problems.