Did you know that there are anywhere between 100 million and 1 million bacteria living on each tooth in your mouth?

In a healthy oral environment this isn’t a problem but what if the bacteria get out of control?  Is the resultant problem confined just to your mouth or does it go further?

Researchers have found that people with second stage gum disease, known as periodontitis are almost twice as likely to have heart disease.  If you also have high cholesterol then the risk of heart disease is doubled once again!


What role does the bacteria have to play in this?

Scientists know there is direct link between heart disease and mouth disease but the exact nature of this link is not yet fully understood.  As infection in the mouth worsens the gum tissue breaks down and it is thought that the bacteria which cause the inflammation get into the bloodstream during normal chewing or brushing.  Once this inflammation causing bacteria are in the bloodstream they work their way to the heart and contribute to the formation of cardiovascular disease.


You will know when you get any infection that the infected area swells, this is your body’s natural response and it is thought that the natural bacteria cause the same swelling around the arteries and blood vessels of your heart.  This swelling and/or clogging of these blood vessels is what is thought then leads to the heart disease.


What about other diseases?

Bacteria from your mouth has also been linked to a range of other diseases.  Respiratory diseases can be exacerbated by a high number of respiratory pathogens which can be harboured in the bacteria in your mouth.  Patients with diabetes can also find it difficult to control their blood sugar levels if they have high levels of gum inflammation.


The bacteria that collect in your mouth with gum disease is the same that cause gastric ulcers, so if the bacteria count in your mouth is too high then these bacteria can constantly travel down to your stomach where they can cause further problems.


How do you maintain a healthy mouth?

People often think that dentistry is expensive but as Twickenham dentist Dr Madin Kahn explains:


“…it’s dental negelct that is expensive!”


So, to maintain a healthy mouth you need to follow this simple five step process:

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day for 2 min each time with a pea sized amount of flouride toothpaste.
  2. Clean in between your teeth with floss or interdental brushes.  Top tip, interdental brushes can be much quicker and easier than fiddly floss.
  3. Use a fluoride mouthwash in between brushes and after meals.  Don’t be tempted to rinse with mouthwash directly after brushing, mouthwash contains less fluoride than toothpaste and you actually wash the fluoride off if you rinse directly after brushing.
  4. Wait 20 mins after eating before brushing your teeth.  This is the amount of time it takes for your teeth to recover from the acid attack of eating, brushing before 20 min can actually damage the surface of your teeth.
  5. Visit your dentist regularly.  Your dentist can spot the early signs of gum disease, with early signs of gum disease spotted early you can then take preventative actions to stop it worsening and causing further health problems.

Your mouth really is your gateway to maintain a healthy body!