Can Dental Plaque Cause Heart Disease? You bet...and many other diseases!
Your Mom was right. Brush your teeth!
What Is Dental Plaque?
Your mom was right. You need to brush and floss twice a day. Here is why.
Dental plaque is made up of about 100 species of bacteria which are normally harmless, but if they are not removed regularly can build up and can have deadly consequences, not only to your oral health, but possibly your entire body. You can never entirely remove the bacteria but with proper oral care you can disturb the colonies and avoid plaque build up. At first the plaque is easy to remove, but within forty eight hours can begin to harden and in a little over a week it becomes tartar which is difficult to remove. This can cause tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss.
But it doesn’t stop there. Recent studies have linked periodontal disease (gum disease) to coronary artery disease which can lead to heart attack and stroke. Although the experts don’t know for sure yet, there is evidence that the plaque can travel through your blood stream and help form plaque in your arteries. There are some cardiac surgeons who will refuse to operate on patients until they have had their teeth professionally cleaned by a dental hygienist. Dental hygienists do more than make your teeth look pretty; they are trained medical professionals who go through rigorous training for three years. It is important for your health to see yours regularly.
Dental Plaque and Disease
Poor oral health may also be associated with a number of frightening diseases including dementia, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, premature birth, osteoporosis and cancer. Some researches believe that inflammation may be the common denominators. So now that you know all the possible scary consequences of poor oral hygiene, let’s get started on how to brush and floss properly.
Flossing is not just for removing particles of food from between your teeth. It is also to remove plaque from between you teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach. If you have wide spaces between you teeth you should also use an interdental brush (tiny little tooth brushes for using between your teeth). Floss before brushing your teeth.
How To Floss
1-Take about an arms length of floss.
2-Slide the floss between your teeth using a zigzag motion.
3-Make sure to floss slightly below your gum line.
4-Everytime you move to a new tooth use a fresh section of floss.
5-Make sure you do between each and every tooth and behind your back teeth.
How To Properly Brush Your Teeth
1-Use a soft tooth brush and brush in the morning after breakfast and last thing at night before you go to bed. Use a small headed brush as it is easier to get into hard to reach places like the back of your teeth. You should change your toothbrush about every three months or after you have had a cold, as you could re-infect yourself. You should brush for a minimum of two minutes.
2- Pay special attention to your gum line. Tilt the brush at a forty five degree angle to your gums and use short gentle strokes to brush. It is easier to remember to brush all of your teeth if you start at one side, say the upper teeth and move methodically to the other side of your mouth. Repeat the same for the bottom.
There are also plaque locating rinses and tablet you can get at most drug stores. You rinse or chew these after you brush and they will turn any remaining plaque a bright red. You can then just brush it away. These are very good training tools for kids to brush properly too.
You can finish with a good anti-bacterial mouth wash and if it contains fluoride all the better. But note: mouth wash in no way replaces proper brushing and flossing!
Although all this repeated brushing and flossing may be tedious, it could save you from some very awful consequences. The added benefit is it will keep your smile pretty! Happy brushing!