Dentistry by Dr. David: Microscopy, Mouth Bacteria and Heart HealthJan 31, 2023 09:31AM ● By Wendy Nadherny Fachon
Microscopy—the use of a microscope in dentistry—is a valuable diagnostic tool that can help prevent serious illness. At Dentistry by Dr. David, samples of plaque from a patient’s mouth are collected and the bacteria contained in it analyzed, as this can explain why many people suffer from bleeding gums. While a high bacteria count found in a plaque sample can be a risk factor for periodontal disease, it can also be a risk factor for heart disease. People can acquire a bacterial infection in their gums at any time from various sources. This dental screening is imperative to diagnose and treat a bacterial infection as early as possible and prevent further damage that may be caused by infection.
Although a proper dental cleaning cannot get rid of all the bacteria in the mouth, it can keep the amount to a minimum, especially unfavorable species. A person suffering from active gum disease will present with many bacteria that move very quickly. The bacteria shaped like cork screws are known as spirochetes, and they are a clear indicator of too many bacteria in the mouth that have traveled deep under the gums. Floss, an electric toothbrush or even a Waterpik are unable to reach down far enough to disrupt the colony of this type of bacteria. The situation requires a professional scaling and root planning procedure, which involves the dental hygienist performing a “full detail” cleaning under the gum line to remove the bacteria. In doing this, the intent is to reverse the body’s inflammatory response to recognizing a bacterial infection. If an infection remains for too long, the inflammatory response will remain and cause additional problems.
An ongoing inflammatory response is directly linked to systemic illness. This means a person with untreated gum disease is more likely to acquire heart disease, dementia, gastrointestinal disease, diabetes and many more preventable illnesses. When a high number of bacteria continue to colonize under the gum line, they will cross into the bloodstream. The same bacteria invading the gums will travel through the blood stream to all areas of the body, including the heart. Over time, bacteria will start to colonize in the heart and its valves. When the body senses the bacteria in the blood vessels, the inflammatory response will start. If the high level of bacteria continues to linger and grow in the heart and vessels, the inflammatory response will continue. An ongoing inflammatory response is what slowly destroys the vessels and tissue in the heart, leading to impairment.
Having dental cleanings every six months is insufficient for maintaining the gum health of the population that have active infection in the gums. If someone has been treated for gum disease, it is imperative that they visit the dental hygienist every three months to remove bacteria. This will keep bacteria to a minimum and discourage the inflammatory response from causing further damage of healthy tissues in the mouth and throughout the body. Microscopy and deep cleanings are important components of Dentistry by Dr. David’s holistic approach to preventive care.
Dentistry by Dr. David is located at 563 Main St., Bolton, MA. For more information, call 978-634-6580 or visit BoltonDental.com.
Wendy Nadherny Fachon is a frequent writer for Natural Awakenings. She hosts the environmental and sustainable living podcast The Story Walking Radio Hour on the Dreamvisions 7 Radio Network website, under the Sustainable Living tab.