Keeping your teeth clean and healthy should be something which comes naturally to everyone, particularly if they’ve had the concept instilled in them from an early age. Teeth which are clean look attractive and are far less likely to develop unpleasant and painful conditions. Above and beyond this, however, evidence has emerged which would tend to indicate that not keeping your teeth clean can be positively dangerous.
If you seek out dental care in London, then one of the first discoveries you’ll make is that a good dentist concentrates far more on prevention than cure. Whilst tooth replacement is now easier and more effective than it’s ever been, it’s still not as good as keeping your teeth strong and healthy in the first place, and a good dentist will make sure that this is the message they hammer home every time you visit them. Looking after your teeth requires a combination of several different factors, from getting regular check-ups to eating the right kind of food, but perhaps the simplest and most effective thing which the average person can do within the comfort of their own home is to make sure that their teeth are kept as clean as possible.
It may not be pleasant to think about it, but the human mouth is the perfect breeding ground for a whole range of bacteria, being warm, wet and constantly coated with different types of food and drink. It is this bacteria which creates the acid which erodes tooth enamel and leads to cavities and other problems, and the most obvious manifestation of the bacteria in your mouth is the presence of plaque. Plaque is the sticky white or yellow film which coats the teeth and can usually be found at its worst first thing in the morning, before you clean them. New research has indicated that plaque is not only bad for your teeth and gums, as well as being unpleasant to look at and likely to cause bad breath, but it may also be a contributing factor to some very serious illnesses.
The latest research in the field was unveiled at the spring conference of the Society for General Microbiology, held in Dublin in March of this year. The research in question was carried out by a team made up of scientists from the University of Bristol and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, and it found that some of the bacteria present in plaque can have highly damaging effects if it finds its way into the patients’ bloodstream. The bacteria in question is known as Streptococcus gordonii and the researchers discovered that, if it got into the bloodstream, as a result of bleeding gums, for example, then it could lead to the forming of blood clots or even an infection of the inner lining of the heart.
It was found that S. gordonii was able to replicate the appearance of a human protein called fibrinogen, which plays a part in the body’s natural blood clotting process. Once in the blood, it causes the platelets present to clump around it, meaning it is invulnerable to attack from either antibiotics or the body’s own immune system. These clots can then either block the supply of blood to various parts of the body or cause growths on the valves of the heart, a condition known as endocarditis. Having discovered this link, and the role which bacterium play in the development of endocarditis, scientists are working to develop treatments which can intervene in the chain of events before it progresses too far. In the meantime, however, the very real dangers connected to heavy plaque build-up merely reinforce the importance connected to effective oral hygiene.
When you access dental care in London, whether you’re merely having a check-up or wish to discuss specific treatments such as tooth replacement, make sure you enquire as to the cleanliness of your teeth. If it could be improved, your dentist will tell you, and they will also explain how best to set about minimising the presence of plaque. Advice such as this won’t only protect your teeth, it may even play a part in saving your life.