Oral hygiene and general health

Dental hygiene and heart disease

The mouth, more specifically, the areas around the teeth are ideal for bacteria to hang around.
Warm, moist, with a constant supply of food.

Some of these bacteria are harmless, some of them are extremely bad news. They are implicated in heart disease mainly by causing a low level bacteraemia(bacteria in the blood).
The low level bacteraemia will lead to chronic inflammation, when then leads to chronic diseases like atherosclerosis. It takes years to develop, and most people don’t make the connection anyway, so this aspect of health stays neglected.

The main diseases are gingivitis, caries and dental abscesses. Poor dental health is not only a reflection of poor general health, it is also a driver, a causative factor, of poor health. Since this article is mainly to draw attention to the problem, I’m not going to go into detail about the various dental issues. That information is better obtained from a dentist.

1. Dental hygiene
– brushing
– flossing
– oil pulling

2. Diet
– avoid sugar
– avoid sticky carbohydrates (grains)
– increase dietary intake of fat soluble vitamins
– ensure adequate hydration. Dry mouth encourages bacterial growth
– chewing on tougher fibrous foods has a natural brushing action, increases salivary flow
– vitamin C reduces gingivitis

Thoughts on flossing
-intuitively, flossing makes sense
-some recent studies showed that flossing increased the possibility of bacteraemia.
However, the counter argument is that, irregular flossing is the culprit, and not regular flossing.
-irregular flossing causes buildup up plaques and biofilms in the inter dental spaces. And when the occasional flossing happens, causes gum injury of the already inflamed gums, leading to bacteraemia

Thoughts on brushing
-brushing after meals is more important than before meals, in my opinion, but I’ll let my dentist friends weigh in on that.

Thoughts on oil pulling
-works mainly by disrupting the biofilms formed by bacterial colonies.
-either through direct mechanical rinsing effect
-or by exposing the biofilms to a wash with both a hydrophobic (oil) and hydrophilic (water in saliva)
-the combination probably works better than just one of those.

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