It's easy to ignore, but a little bit of tooth decay or gum disease always leads to a little bit more. However, one thing is certain. If left untreated, it almost always results in pain, emergency treatment, and tooth loss. So why does this happen? It's an infection.
Millions of bacteria swim around in our mouths. Many of them are harmless, and some are even beneficial. But a few love nothing more than to eat away at the hard and soft tissues of the mouth. Like all living creatures, they need an energy source. Sugars are their snack of choice, and they use simple carbohydrates from our diet to manufacture energy.
Like all living creatures making energy, they also produce waste. These acidic wastes deposited on the teeth erode the hard surfaces, weaken the enamel, and form holes known as cavities.
Some bacteria produce a toxic waste that causes bleeding gums and the destruction of bone around the teeth, which is called periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is the leading reason people lose their teeth and end up with dentures.
Most infections can be treated with antibiotics, but oral bacteria require a different approach. Regular checkups help us identify new cavities, and periodic cleanings remove plaque and tartar that harbor millions of harmful bacteria. High-risk patients benefit from a customized approach with our team, and we have many methods to strengthen weakened enamel that has not yet developed into decay.
This complex cycle of inflammation and infection extends beyond the gums and mouth. In fact, research continues to uncover the many ways that our oral health affects the overall health of our bodies (including the heart) and can influence medical conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and even some types of cancer. For example, oral bacteria enter the bloodstream through inflamed and bleeding gums. Like a river, blood flow carries the bacteria to the small vessels of the heart and brain. Here, they can damage the intricate vessel lining, leading to dangerous blockage of the vessel. Heart attacks or strokes can occur because of bleeding gums.