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Oral Bacteria Impacts General Well Being

Even the cleanest mouth is brimming with oral bacteria. The human mouth can play host to 1,000 varieties of microscopic organisms; when they work in sync oral bacteria are an integral part of the digestion process (the organisms help break down trace particles of foods and sugars deposited on teeth after eating). However, when oral bacteria levels get out of whack (common causes including smoking, drinking, poor nutrition or dental neglect) the critters can band together to form dental plaque; that gathering will contribute to a slew of dental problems as well as other general health issues.

Numerous studies have analyzed the relationship between high levels of oral bacteria and health issues such as stroke, obesity, infertility and heart disease. The various research leading to those conclusions have helped prove the oral health/mind/body connection time and time again. As more research is conducted into the relationship between dental plaque and health, the results show that the two are intricately intertwined.


When dental plaque bands together, the bacterium will produce tooth eroding acids as a by-product; that provides a link between pneumonia and dental care. Pneumonia is an illness commonly triggered by a bacterial or viral infection and once stricken with the illness, the result is lung inflammation. Combined with influenza, pneumonia is the eighth leading cause of death in the United States (National Center for Health Statistics. National Vital Statistics Report. Deaths: Final Data for 2006. Vol. 57, 14 April 2009). T

Viral pneumonia typically heals on its own and while antibiotics can cure strains caused by bacterial infection, over time the disease has become more drug resistance. It is for those reasons that dental care is extremely important in fighting off the illness in the first place. Research conducted by the Yale University School of Medicine helped prove the case. Scientists studied a total of 37 hospitalized patients and they found that there were changes in oral bacteria levels prior to pneumonia developing. That information was enough for the British Dental Health Foundation to warn that dental neglect can lead to pneumonia.

Joint Failure

While some may hear the term joint and think of pot-smoking, the term is more commonly used to talk about the connections of bones within the human body. Over time those contacts can fail and cause severe pain including arthritis; in the most advanced cases surgical replacements are the best treatment option. Research has found that oral bacteria can be linked to the failure of those options.

The most recent findings have come courtesy of the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine; it is not the first research produced from the university that has connected the release of oral bacteria into the blood stream and associated that process to health issues. The most recent findings have shown that “aseptic loosening or prosthetic wear of the artificial joints fail within 10 years when no infection appears to be present,” (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/244295.php).


Osteoporosis is a condition where bone density is lost courtesy of depleting calcium supplies and odds of getting a bone fracture are gained. Although the condition primarily impacts hips, spines and wrists, it can affect any bone in the body including the jawbone. Since that body part is where teeth are supposed to be firmly anchored, the relationship between osteoporosis and dental health is a fragile one and research has shown that high levels of oral bacteria can make the condition worse.

The weakened bone structure associated with osteoporosis can cause teeth to separate from the jawbone, leaving little pockets of space behind and providing a perfect space for dental plaque to hide. The community can not only exasperate the condition but can contribute to life-threatening dental problems called a dental abscess.

Individuals interested in finding out more about the relationship between oral bacteria and health should discuss the issue directly with their dentist.

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