Believe it or not, the bacteria hiding in between your teeth and gums, may significantly impact your overall health. The bacteria most associated with causing periodontal disease (Porphyromonas gingivalis) is now also being linked with other diseases, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and can enhance susceptibility to HIV.
Researchers from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry found that the proteins produced by your oral epithelial cells are attenuated by the bacteria that cause periodontitis, namely P. gingivalis. These proteins, called interferon lambdas, provide broad antiviral protection and activate antiviral genes, in order to protect you from viruses.
What gum and bone disease mean to your overall health
When someone develops periodontitis, their level of bacterial load, specifically P. gingivalis, overwhelms the oral cavity. Studies are now showing that P.gingivalis, although a major culprit in causing periodontitis, is also implicated in allowing viruses to enter the bloodstream.
Normally, in a healthy mouth without periodontitis, proteins produced by the epithelial cells act to protect you from viral infections and other serious health issues. However, when someone has periodontitis, P.gingivalis slows down the production of those proteins. This leads to a much higher chance of contracting a viral infection.
Advice to reduce harmful bacteria
One way to improve your oral health is to become more aware of the benefits of taking oral probiotics (which you can read more about here). Keeping your mouth clean and healthy should be your top priority. Brushing twice a day, flossing, using a tongue scraper, as well as a fluoridated toothpaste, will aid tremendously in keeping those bacteria at bay.
Something that is not addressed often, whenever oral health is brought up, is the lack of attention to nutrition. Great dental health begins with your nutrition. Meaning, paying attention to the amount of sugar that you ingest, such as soft drinks and candies laden with sugar, can go a long way in leading you in the right direction.
Snacking or grazing may lead to an increase in the bacteria in your mouth, due to the constant and consistent ingestion of food. This food leads to plaque buildup, which acts to feed the bacteria. The bacteria then multiply and grow, and affect your health by suppressing the production of the proteins that protect you against viral infection.
What else can I do to reduce bacteria in my mouth?
Having crowded teeth and misaligned teeth will result in more plaque and bacterial trapping. The ultimate solution to dealing with this is to straighten your teeth and get rid of the crowding. P. gingivalis love crowded spaces and that is where we see much of the bone loss. You can consider straightening your teeth with invisalign or with braces. At Sbenati Dentistry we provide invisalign services and our patients absolutely love them due to the ability to eat normally without sacrifice.
Teeth Whitening can also improve your digestive and oral health by fighting deep, penetrating stains and bacteria deep within your mouth, especially with older teeth.
The overall most important advice is to stay on top of your dental hygiene, appointments, and exams. Dental hygienists have access to dental instruments, performing deep cleaning within your gums to remove plaque and tartar that you won’t be able to reach by yourself.
If you would like to ask our dental clinic in London, Ontario, any questions or schedule an appointment you can use our Request An Appointment form, email us at [email protected], or give us a call at (519)-474-0220. We would love to meet you.
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