I have always felt that a program of disease prevention is the key to good health. A regimen of proper home oral hygiene coupled with regular professional cleanings will help to prevent both major dental diseases- tooth decay and gum disease. This is because both these diseases are caused by bacteria which adhere to the teeth in the form of what’s called dental plaque.
What is the mechanism of tooth decay? The bacteria take in sugars from the diet and metabolize them into acids. The acid gradually softens the hard tissue of a tooth and a hole, or cavity, begins to form. This process continues and keeps increasing as the bacteria continue to multiply and invade further into the tooth.
As for gum disease, the bacterial secretions irritate the gum tissue which becomes swollen the blood which allows the bacteria to invade the gums and to affect the bone support of the teeth.
In recent years, many studies have confirmed that these bacteria also contribute to a variety of systemic diseases as well such as heart disease, macular degeneration of the eye, pregnancy specific diseases, and several cancers. Because the gum tissue has become swollen it allows the bacteria to gain access to the blood stream where they can travel to and invade various organs. Even in healthy individuals these misplaced bacteria will start to do degenerative damage.
Proper cleaning of the teeth will not only prevent the dental diseases but will prevent these systemic effects as well. A regular regimen of professional cleanings at the dental office is also essential to accomplish this.