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Natural Awakenings Healthy Living Magazine

Let Your Heart Smile

Jan 31, 2024 09:31AM ● By Dr. Keith Dobracki, DDS, ND, IAOMT
Fun Mouth Facts

·         The inside of the mouth has as many bacteria as there are people on Earth.

·         Like bones, teeth are alive.

·         Eighty-five percent of people can curl their tongue into a tube.

·         Teeth are the hardest substance in the human body.

·         A tongue print is as unique as a fingerprint.

·         Without saliva, we would have no sense of taste.

Now more than ever, oral pathogens are negatively disrupting our systemic well-being. The most recognized concerns of these harmful bugs are coronary heart and cardiovascular diseases because it is very easy for these pathogens to travel from our mouth directly into our heart.

Our mouths have more bacteria than human cells, and in many ways parallel the way our gut functions. The human body is essentially one big, long, fancy tube, after all. There are more than 20 billion bacteria living in the mouth, and they outnumber cells by 10 to one. The purpose of this robust oral bacterial terrain is to maintain optimal oral health by remineralizing teeth, limiting harmful bacteria and keeping the gums and mouth balanced.

Unfortunately, oral pathogens are constantly looking for a suitable environment to invade. The mouth, being dark, wet and full of food, provides a hospitable home. This delicate environment must maintain a constant, fragile balance between teeth, saliva, bacteria, gums, bones and muscles. If that balance is disrupted, it creates a window for the pathogens to enter the body and wreak havoc.

When bad bacteria enter an environment of poor oral health, missing teeth, cavities or gum inflammation, they use their innate mechanisms to become embedded as a part of the oral biofilm, a highly ordered polymicrobial community, using cells, waste and other bacteria to effectively hide and cause the disease process. This is essentially a protection cloak for the bad bacteria to survive.

These bacteria contribute to rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, carcinomas, musculoskeletal problems, respiratory diseases, strokes, birth complications and cardiovascular disease. They can also quickly cause gingivitis and periodontitis. The mouth is very dense with blood capillaries (second-most dense after the heart) where bacteria can easily enter the bloodstream. That can cause destructive inflammation to the vessels.

This process may also cause tiny blood clots, and certain bacteria found in blood vessels after heart attacks and strokes are only found in the mouth. The American Heart Association and the American Dental Association have both conducted clinical and peer reviewed studies linking heart disease with periodontal disease. Thus, people with periodontal disease have a 200 to 300 percent greater risk of heart attack and stroke, and patients with artificial heart valves are at the highest risk.

There are many treatments available to help with this process, but an early diagnosis is the most favorable, along with daily prevention with proper oral hygiene techniques. Technological advancements have led to detailed clinical testing that can be performed by dentists to test the oral biofilm bacteria in the mouth and understand systemic health risk factors. These tests usually rate the bacteria on a danger/risk scale and demonstrate the systemic disease correlation factors they possess.

Treatments can range from in-office prophylaxis, ozone, oral terrain management, use of correct oral prebiotics and probiotics, proper home care products, nutrition and diet coaching, surgical care, pH balancing, supplements and others.

Dr. Keith Dobracki is the owner of Ann Arbor’s Dentist, located at 606 W. Stadium Blvd., in Ann Arbor. For appointments and more information, call 734-747-6400 or visit See Dr. D and his family on the front cover this month.

Fun Mouth Facts

Fun Mouth Facts

Fun Mouth Facts from Dr. Keith Dobracki, DDS, ND, IAOMT Read More »