(Protégez-Vous in partnership with the Ordre des dentistes du Québec)
Good dental hygiene helps to prevent many diseases like cavities, gingivitis and even pneumonia!
Taking good care of your teeth will not only give you a bright smile, it will also help you prevent various diseases, starting with dental decay or cavities. Cavities involve the localized, progressive decay of the hard tissues of the tooth, starting in the enamel and extending into the dentin. A high-sugar diet and poor oral health are often to blame.
When you eat, food debris sticks to the surface of your teeth. If you do not brush after a meal, this debris will mix with bacteria already present in the mouth, converting it into a cavity-causing acid.
Watching out for gum disease
Gum disease – also called periodontal disease – is another leading cause of oral health problems in adults. There are two types: gingivitis and pariodontitis.
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums caused by the buildup of dental plaque and tartar. When the inflammation spreads and reaches the bones that support your teeth, it is known as periodontitis.
Left untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss and recurring infections (abscesses).
Other diseases associated with poor oral health
Studies have found a link between gum disease and other health problems. One of the theories explaining this connection is that the bacteria found in dental plaque (or in the substances it produces), travel through the bloodstream to other organs of the body.
As a result, gum disease may be a risk factor for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. The bacteria that cause gum disease may, in fact, be involved in atherosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries that can lead to blockages of major blood vessels. These bacteria can also be inhaled into the lungs, where they can trigger infections or aggravate existing pulmonary problems.
In addition, some research findings suggest a relationship between gum disease in pregnant women and premature births or low birth weight babies. Lastly, people with uncontrolled diabetes may be more at risk for gum disease, which in turn may worsen their condition.
Did you know?
Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Nearly 75 percent of adults will experience some type of gum problem in their lifetime.
To learn more:
Maladies des gencives: Le dépistage et le traitement, Protégez-Vous, May 2010 (French only)
Maladies des gencives: Mythes et réalités, Protégez-Vous, May 2010 (French only)