Your oral health has a bigger impact on your overall health than you may suspect. Inflammation and disease in the mouth can have negative impact throughout your whole body and lead to some very serious conditions. 

One of the key players in this oral systemic connection are the bacteria that live in your mouth. There are both good and bad bacteria that can inhabit your mouth.  The goal is to rid yourself of the bad bacteria and create an environment in the mouth to promote the growth of good bacteria.  Brushing and flossing alone will not be enough to deal with the issue if bad bacteria have taken hold in your mouth.  There may not be obvious signs to the untrained eye. 

So how do we determine if treatment is needed and what can be done? One of the best tools we have is the Oral DNA MyPeriopath test to find out what pathogens are present in the mouth. Below you will see an example of a portion of the report.

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The test will show the pathogens and their quantities in the mouth. Once we know this, a plan of attack can be formed by the dental provider and physician. The key is to find which bad bacteria are present and eliminate them because they contribute to arterial disease and inflammation. 

Your dentist can also use x-ray and cone beam ct scans to look for abscesses and other issues that are missed by routine examination. These areas can be breeding grounds for bacteria that are carried throughout your whole body. 

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Making sure that there is not an underlying problem that could lead to further oral damage as well as systemic damage is a key in preventing arterial disease. Addressing any current issues and treating them is one of the first steps to prevention. 

What Can I Do to Avoid Oral Health Issues?

First is to go regularly to your dental provider, make sure they give you an ongoing treatment plan for any issues, and follow their plan. Make sure that the dental provider that you are seeing understands the risks you are concerned about and is not just addressing cosmetic and cleaning issues. 

If you have concerns about disease that is present you should consider the OralDNA test to find pathogens that may be present. We have seen patients that have no obvious issues or new cavities that have significant levels of dangerous bacteria from damaged dental work or poor daily care. 

Make sure that you are following a daily routine to disinfect your mouth to kill and prevent bacteria from growing in your mouth. Daily brushing and flossing can be accompanied with: use of a waterpik and dental picks, making sure that your are using toothpaste that doesn't contain sugar or alcohol, making sure to brush the entire mouth not just the teeth and gums, and going to bed with a clean mouth. Depending on the level of bacteria or disease discovered antibiotics, special cleaning or dental work may be neeeded. 

The most important part is to make sure that you are regularly getting cleanings and follow the advice of your dental provider. They are you best resource to avoid disease and oral systemic issues that can result. 

Treating and preventing inflammation in your mouth can actually lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.  Something as simple as dental floss can save your life!

Why is this not well known? Traditionally, dentists and doctors work in separate parts of the health care system. The Center for Prevention is collaborating with dentists to play a larger role in the overall health of their patients.