Besides the most commonly suggested advice of stopping smoking, losing weight, exercise and eating healthier there is more than one way to theoretically live longer. An often overlooked and underpublicized tip to a healthier body is to keep your teeth clean. In a recent study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, nearly 80 percent of all adults have some degree of periodontal disease.
Periodontal Disease is the most infectious disease on the earth
Periodontal disease is linked to or is a potential risk factor for those with damaged heart valves, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease and behavioral and psychosocial conditions according to The American Academy of Periodontology, which has been reviewing the data boldly states that “It is the most pervasive infectious disease on earth”.
There are over 500 Species of Bacteria in the Mouth
The cause of this insidious disease stems from the plaque-producing bacteria, found among the almost 500 species of bacteria in the mouth. The bacteria that cause periodontal disease live in the absence of air like it warm, dark and acidic. They provide the furry feeling on teeth upon awakening. This bio-film forms a water resistant, sticky wall around the tooth called plaque. Water alone (swishing or oral irrigating) cannot penetrate this grease barrier to remove plaque. In addition, gums act like a gasket around the tooth, further preventing air or water to reach the “air hating” bacteria along the gum line, making cleaning especially difficult.
Within minutes of brushing your teeth, Bacteria (good or bad) start to reproduce dangerous levels of bacteria and exponentially reproduce every hour. This means that if you start off with a bacteria population of 1x (1x being the number of bacteria in your mouth after a professional cleaning – which you can’t achieve in the home), after one hour you have double the population of bacteria, and after two hours you have 4x, then 8x, 16x, etc. Poor cleaning in a few areas will leave heavy concentrations of plaque that can re-populate other areas of the oral cavity.
Brushing and Flossing Alone Doesn’t Work
To reduce the plaque-producing bacteria in the mouth, one must a) break through the sticky shield with an abrasive, b) cleanse the site, c) aerate the site, and d) neutralize the acid. Normal cleaning methods, like brushing and flossing, have a difficult time accessing the sites between the teeth or can’t break through the sticky film, don’t aerate those sites, and don’t neutralize the acid.
Flossing Does Not Aerate the Site Nor does it Neutralize the Acid
The American Dental Society reports that only 5% of the population flosses their teeth. Drawbacks to flossing are possible gum lacerations and the floss can act as a contaminant bringing infection from one tooth to the other. Flossing does not aerate the site nor neutralize the acid.
Tooth Brushing Causes Abrasions and has its Drawbacks
Tooth brushing is over aggressive on the cheek-side surfaces of teeth causing toothbrush abrasion and ridges along the gum line, resulting in sensitivity to hot and cold, while still not accessing in between the teeth. Tooth brushing also does not aerate the sites to change the environment.
There is a Better Solution to Clean Your Teeth, The Dental Air Force
It’s not easy to keep the population of bacteria in the mouth low and your teeth really clean. Meticulous routine twice daily cleaning is necessary. Professional cleanings at least twice a year assist in this task. The effort it takes will facilitate your overall health. There is lots of evidence suggesting that one way to live longer is to clean your teeth better.
Dr. Piero, a practicing dentist for over twenty-five years, is the inventor of Dental Air Force® (www.dentalairforce.com). Articles published are on periodontal health related to heart disease, respiratory health, diabetes, strokes, and other systemic diseases. He is the Executive Editor for Journal of Experimental Dental Science, a contributing author to Hospital Infection Control: Clinical Guidelines and soon-to-be published book, Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.