Dentistry is ever changing and some things we did ten years ago (and, heck, even five years ago!) are obsolete. In the early days of dentistry, the way we did certain procedures were based on others’ clinical experiences and little was based on scientific research. Fortunately, the field of dentistry has moved away from those ancient ways and now follows the model of medical research, backing everything up with science and facts.
One of the most important discoveries in recent dental research is the impact our gum health has on our overall health. With this has come the realization that more than half the population needs more than just a prophylactic cleaning (a.k.a. regular cleaning) due to the prevalence of periodontal/gum disease and its impact on our bodies. Technically, a prophylactic cleaning is an above-the-gum scaling and polish for those patients who have no sign of infection or bone loss. So what constitutes “no sign of infection”?…. main thing to check for: NO BLEEDING. Do your gums bleed when you floss? Do your gums bleed when your dental hygienist is cleaning your teeth or calling out all those crazy numbers (you know… “3-2-3, 3-2-4, 4-2-4”)? It is NOT normal for our gums to bleed when we clean them! Think about it! Is it normal for other parts of our bodies to bleed when we clean them? Of course not!
Bleeding, swelling, and redness of the gums are signs of infection. Infection is caused by “bad bacteria” in the mouth that has grown out-of-control…. so far out-of-control that our immune system is no longer able to keep up with the load.
Let’s face it…. Like it or not, we all have bacteria in our mouths. But when our immune system is able to keep it from over-growing and changing into more harmful and aggressive strains, our bodies maintain balance and our gums stay healthy. On the flipside, when these aggressive bacteria override our immune system’s ability to fight them off, the signs of infection show up, and this is when we require more than a “regular” cleaning. Our concern for our patients is this…. Research has shown that these aggressive, invasive, “bad bacteria” that are detected in inflamed and infected mouths have the ability to get into our bloodstream and travel through major arteries and organs, increasing our risk for heart attack, stroke, pre-term labor for pregnant mommies, and Alzheimer’s disease. They can even increase our risk for certain cancers. To learn more about oral / systemic links, visit www.oshnewsnetwork.com.
At Harris Dental, PEOPLE MEAN EVERYTHING, which is why we are always proactive when it comes to your periodontal/gum health. Without a stable foundation for your pearly whites, you can end up losing perfectly healthy teeth. Our goal is to get you to the finish line with all your teeth! More importantly, we want to help you enjoy OVERALL HEALTH for a lifetime!
So how do we achieve these goals? The answer is preventative care, which sometime involves changing the way we “clean” your teeth in our office and how you clean them at home. We believe in empowering our patients and making them part of a team effort to help in the process of achieving optimal oral health. We provide you with the tools and education you need to get the most out of your homecare, so that we get the best outcome from our in-office procedures. These procedures include the latest scientific testing and state-of-the-art equipment. If you have any questions talk to your hygienist or dentist at your next appointment, or make one today by calling 480-405-6588!
Until next time!