We tend to think of teeth as invincible and often let them fend for themselves. Teeth may be strong–but only to a point. The reality is, everyday drinking and chewing are a problem. Up to 700 different kinds of bacteria can live in the mouth. Bacteria buildup turns into hard plaque that can make its way deep down in the gums causing infection. One strain of mouth bacteria has been repeatedly found in the blood clots of heart attack and stroke patients. This concept is known in the medical field as the oral-systemic link. It means that infection in the mouth can spread to the body directly through the bloodstream. It’s vital for gums to be stimulated through flossing in order to break down the bacteria buildup. Regular cleanings allow the hygienist to address issues early on and prevent the need for more serious treatment in the future. Hygienists are also able to reach deep groves that you would never be able to get to with a toothbrush. It’s also crucial for gum pockets to be evaluated to ensure they are not growing past a healthy length of 3mm. When gums recede it means that the jaw bone is deteriorating. Unfortunately, once that bone is gone we can’t get it back. Over time, gum recession ultimately results in tooth loss. The good news is, all of this can be avoided through good homecare and regular dental treatment. Do you have more questions about gums or oral hygiene that I didn’t cover in this blog? Feel free to reach out at the office closest to you: Spokane: 509-581-4188 Spokane Valley: 509-927-2273