How To Reduce Oral and Systemic Inflammation
Inflammation has been a hot button topic lately, and for good reason. Systemic inflammation has been linked to a variety of diseases and cancers. But did you know that oral inflammation has a direct affect on systemic, or whole body inflammation? At Spokane Dental we are passionate about seeing our patients restored to health or maintain good health, because we know just how much a patient’s oral condition impacts overall well-being.
The Oral-Systemic Link
Poor oral health can impact a person’s life in many ways. Being unable to chew normally as well as eat a wide variety of foods because of cavities, missing teeth, or gum disease can greatly impact quality of life. Often patients are embarrassed of infection, staining, or missing teeth which affects a person’s social life. Missed days from work because of dental pain, or Emergency Room visits due to dental infection impact patients monetarily.
Not only do dental problems obviously cause hard ship and disruption in day-to-day life, but they also silently contribute to poor whole body health. To explain the link simply and in very broad terms, gum and periodontal disease1 are the body’s inflammatory response to a bacterial infection. This chronic inflammation triggers the entire body to release inflammatory markers associated with heart disease, diabetes, pregnancy complications, osteoporosis, and more. There is a direct link between inflammation caused by poor oral hygiene and gum disease and other inflammation driven diseases in the body.
How to Reduce Oral Inflammation
Proper brushing and flossing2 at home make a world of difference in preventing or helping oral disease3. But even with great home care, it is essential to get routine check ups and dental cleanings, especially if you notice signs of gum inflammation at home. Gums should be pink, not bright red, and should sit against the tooth and not be boggy or flappy. Sore gums, or bleeding when brushing or flossing are also indicators of inflammation.
The above signs of inflammation should be addressed at a dental office. At home, a patient can clean the teeth above the gums, but the “bad bacteria” that cause gum disease grow best in dark places in just the right environment. Underneath the gums tends to be that perfect environment for bad bacteria to grow and colonize. This bacterial growth causes an inflammatory response, which the patient can see in the signs of inflammation we covered above (redness, swelling, bleeding). To get rid of inflammation, one must get rid of the bacteria causing it. That’s where your Spokane Dental Team comes in.
How We Can Help
It is impossible to reach the disease causing bacteria lurking under gums with a toothbrush and floss. Even other homecare aids like rubber tips cannot completely remove the bacteria. Plaque hardens into calculus (or what commercials call “tartar” buildup), which is a hard substance cemented to the tooth usually underneath the gums. Our dental hygienists are specially trained to remove plaque and calculus underneath the gums in a safe and health-promoting way. The human body is really amazing: once the calculus and plaque (which are really just sophisticated bacterial colonies) on the tooth are removed, the body begins to heal. Because there is a not bacterium causing an inflammatory response, the disease simply is stopped in its tracks!
At Spokane Dental, we do assessments at every single visit. Not only are your teeth examined for cavities, but we check the health of ALL tissue in your mouth. X-Rays show us the health of the tooth, but also the bone surrounding the tooth, which can tell us if there is any inflammation causing bone loss. We look for any inflammation, and treat our patients accordingly. If gum or periodontal disease is severe, we make a treatment plan with the patient on how best to tackle the inflammation and arrest the disease. When it comes to oral health, and inflammation, prevention is key. Regular dental check ups and cleanings are essential to preventing inflammatory gum disease.