Clean Teeth, Healthy Body

An image of an x-ray showing a prostheic kneeYou hear a lot about how important it is to see your dentist twice a year for a good checkup and cleaning. But it might surprise you how important it is to make sure your oral health care team is aware of your medical history.

Your mouth has a special relationship with virtually every other system in your body. The way that you care for your mouth can add years to your life or lead to serious medical problems. Not flossing, for example, has been linked to heart disease. Regular flossing has been linked to longer life in some studies.

So you may know a number of ways that good oral hygiene can improve your overall health and even your social life, but how is dental hygiene linked to say… a knee replacement?

Replacement joints or limbs, called prosthesis, are special in that they don’t contain nerves or blood vessels. Nerves help to let your brain know when something is wrong, and blood vessels keep blood flowing in and around your body parts.

Blood not only carries oxygen and nutrients to your body parts, but it also helps to keep your body free from bacteria and other invaders. It does this by delivering special cells like white blood cells, who’s job it is to fight infections. After an infection is neutralized, blood and other fluids helps to carry away the waste so it can be eliminated.

How is this related to good oral care? Your mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria. Bacteria want to get into your body. Even minor bleeding in your mouth can open a door for bacteria to get from your mouth into your blood stream. If a bacteria gets into your blood stream and finds it’s way to a prosthetic device, it can land there and grow without being attacked by your body’s defenses. Your body may not even know that bacteria is there until it starts to cause infections somewhere else in your body. Bacteria on prosthetic devices can be very hard to fight.

Your dentist wants to make sure that your regular oral routine includes activities like proper brushing and flossing so that your teeth and gums stay healthy. Unhealthy gums can easily bleed – exposing your body to bacterial invasion. Keeping your mouth clean helps to cut down on the amount of bacteria in your mouth. Brushing and flossing properly keeps your gums healthy so they don’t bleed easily. Good oral care can lower your risk for infection.

If your dentist knows your medical history and is aware that you have a prosthetic device, he or she will probably prescribe some antibiotics that you can take about an hour prior to your appointment. Giving you an antibiotic is a precaution. Just in case there is some bleeding during a procedure, the antibiotic will help your body kill any bacteria that get’s into your blood stream – before it has a chance to cause any trouble.

Dr. Gregg Taira DDS has been practicing gentle family dentistry in Montgomery County, Maryland since 1986. If you would like to see Dr. Gregg, please dial 888-291-4041. His friendly staff will help you get an appointment at a time that is convenient for you and your family.

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