Healthy mouths kiss disease goodbye

In Features

The importance of proper oral health is crucial in helping to maintain both a healthy mouth and body.

John Pekcan / Daily Titan
John Pekcan / Daily Titan

According to Delta Dental, planning a visit to a dentist on a regular basis can help in maintaining a person’s overall health.

Delta Dental states that if teeth are brushed twice a day and flossed at least once, the amount of plaque buildup will be less, resulting in a healthy mouth.

Without these proper dental care tips that consist of brushing twice a day, flossing in-between meals and two trips to the dentist each year, a healthy mouth will be much harder to maintain with possible side effects such as cavities, bad breath and gum disease to name a few.

Nooria Achakzad, a dental assistant at Dr. Sullivan’s Pediatric Dental in Huntington Beach, explained how the first sign of improper dental care comes in the form of a cavity.

“If you don’t take care of your oral hygiene … 70 percent of the time … patients believe that by not fixing their cavities, it will go away,” said Achakzad. “It is a proven fact that cavities do go away depending on what is done and how deep they are, but if they don’t, the cavities become deeper.”

Achakzad explained that the acids contained in certain foods can overtime remove the enamel and dentine on people’s teeth, ultimately leading to nerve damage and a root canal.

“It takes only 24 hours for plaque to build up on your teeth,” Achakzad said.

She said that by brushing along the gum line at a 45 degree angle more plaque will be removed from the teeth, keeping cavities at a stand still.

Victor Ryoo, a dentist and owner of Victor Ryoo DDS in Fullerton, explained by not taking proper care of teeth, especially from the lack of brushing, a person can develop tartar buildup that easily leads to other detrimental side effects.

“Tartar is seen by the body as a foreign object that tries to descend itself,” said Ryoo.

“We have a tug-a-war between the body’s immune system and the tartar that is build up,” he added.

He explained that after tartar becomes built up in the mouth, Gingivitis then moves into the gums creating inflammation that causes bleeding and swelling of the gums.

Stacy Brainard, a dental assistant from Orange Family Dentistry in Orange, explained that without proper dental hygiene, a person may easily develop bleeding gums.

“If your gums bleed, that means you have open blood vessels in your mouth that gives access to many forms of bacteria to enter the bloodstream,” said Brainard. “Which goes to the heart, and in severe cases could lead to a heart attack or heart disease.”

Brainard added that since the mouth has an abundance of bacteria in it, it’s constantly reforming even minutes after a person brushes their teeth.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a dental health provider, a person’s oral health is linked to overall health due to the bad bacteria that sometimes grows out of control in a person’s mouth.

This bad bacteria can cause not only oral infections, but also tooth decay and gum disease.

Narayana Darst, an interim director at the CSUF Student Health and Counseling Center, explained that although there are no dental services on campus, the campus does give referrals to local dentists offices, with some that offer discounted services to students at CSUF.

According to Gordon Haag, doctor of dental surgery, the effects of periodontal disease begins with the combination of Gingivitis that stems from poor oral hygiene, diet and stress.

“The major cause of periodontal disease is the interaction between the bacteria found in the mouth and the body’s response,” said Haag.

He explained that when bacteria gets into the gum pockets and begin to swell, bleeding and bone loss are the last steps before the teeth begin to loosen.

He said that more than half of all adults have periodontal disease and 50 percent is genetic.

Other conditions that are linked to periodontal disease are obesity, high blood pressure, lung disease, kidney and colon cancer and pregnancy complications.

Heart disease is another serious factor of poor oral health that slowly occurs from the effects of periodontal disease.

Haag added that when the dead bacteria from the mouth sails into the bloodstream, it eventually steams into the heart causing heart disease.

He said the bacteria begins to scratch the coronary vessels inside the heart, which causes the body to form a scab.

However, he said this can be repaired as long as the source of the bacteria is corrected.

Haag explained that in order to eliminate the course of bacteria that attacks the mouth and eventually the heart, brushing and flossing is key to get the built-up tartar off of the teeth.

“If you don’t take the tartar off it’s really hard for you to keep their mouth clean,” Haag said.

Achakzad explained that other ways to avoid cavities and bacteria from entering a person’s mouth is by flossing in particular ways which over time will make a big difference in tackling cavities and bad bacteria.

“When you do floss, we recommend that you make a ‘C’ or a ‘U’ shape around your tooth and not just putting the floss in and taking it back down,” Achakzad said. “When you do that, you are actually not taking anything out of your mouth.”

She added that wisdom teeth are not only recommended to be removed, but necessary in order to maintain healthy teeth and gums.

“What happens is, in the future, they start throbbing and start causing headaches and migraines,” Achakzad said. “We have four wisdom teeth, although not everyone gets their wisdom teeth.”

She expressed that although some people do not receive all four wisdom teeth and instead have only two on top or two on bottom, it is still an important procedure to have taken care of to preserve good oral health.

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