Dental Plaque: Links to infections and diseases | Blog

The problem with dental plaque, though your saliva helps to protect you against some bacteria, it can’t always do the job for you. There are more than 500 species of bacteria that thrive in your mouth at any given time. These invaders constantly form dental plaque. Dental plaque is a sticky, colorless film that can attach to your teeth and cause many health problems.


Your mouth is an infection source

If you are not brushing and flossing on a regular basis to keep your teeth clean, plaque will build up along your gum line, creating an environment allowing additional bacteria to accumulate in the space between the teeth and gums. This gum infection is known as gingivitis. If it is left unchecked, gingivitis can lead to a more rapid gum infection called periodontitis. The most intense form of gum infection is called acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, also known as trench mouth. The bacteria from your mouth typically doesn’t enter your bloodstream. However, more involved dental treatments-even sometimes just routine brushing and flossing if you already have gum disease-can provide an entry for these microbes. Some medications that minimize saliva flow can also allow bacteria into your bloodstream.


Plaque a cause of conditions?

A long-term gum infection can result in loss of your teeth. But that may not be all… Research shows that there may be an affiliation between oral infections and diabetes, cardiovascular disease and preterm birth.

  • Diabetes; if you have diabetes you are already at a high risk of developing gum disease, however chronic gum disease may make diabetes more difficult to control. The infection may cause insulin resistance.
  • Cardiovascular disease; Gingivitis may also play a part in clogged arteries and blood clots. Research shows that the bacteria in the mouth may cause inflammation throughout the entire body which includes the arteries. Some research shows that gum infections are also linked to increases risk of heart attack and stroke. The bigger the infection, the higher the risk.
  • Preterm birth; Research estimates that 18% of preterm, low birth weight babies born in the USA each year may be attributed to oral infections. The oral bacteria reach the placenta through the mother’s bloodstream and disrupt the growth and development of the fetus. Also the oral infection causes the mother to create labor triggering substances very quickly, potentially triggering premature labor.

So remember that keeping good oral hygiene habits not only benefits your mouth but your overall health!


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