Making a good first impression with
good Dental Health

There is no question that the health of your gum tissue has serious systemic consequences. I can tell a lot about a patients overall general health just by a 30 second scan of the gingival or gum tissue.

 plaque, gingivitis

Plaque forms rapidly in the oral cavity. Within hours, bacteria colonizes on the gum tissue and teeth by secreting a mucopolysaccharide that if left undisturbed, will mineralize to form calculus or tarter. These bacteria use the food that we eat for their metabolism. The end product of their metabolism is an endotoxin that once secreted in the area attracts cells in our body that are the major clean up police of our immune system. This is called an autoimmune response to a foreign molecule. Because the cells are unable to reach the endotoxins, they inadvertently begin to destroy the healthy cells of the gum tissue.

This process or "disease" is called gingivitis. The gums swell and become bright red and bleed easily as a result of tenacious and efficient immune system. Being an action of an to our own cells, we label this process an autoimmune disease. Research has shown that this process greatly effects the liver, kidney and cardiovascular system. In fact, the American Heart Association sent out a bulletin stating that gingivitis and periodontal disease and the events that occur as a result of ignoring the problem, increases the patients chance of heart disease.

Despite the obvious risks of increased incidence of a heart attach and long term damage to the entire cardiovascular system, there are social implications as well. One of the side effects of this disease is bad breath or halitosis. First impressions are critical when meeting a potential bow. There are several subliminal signals that occurs in the first few minutes of the encounter that can either make or break a potential relationship or job interview. The oder produced by gingivitis is repulsive and sends a message to others that "I am an unclean person with poor personal hygiene". This disease also has visual side effects. The red and inflamed gums make the person seem older and unkept. These visuals signals are something that everyone responds to without even knowing why they are turned off by the person effected with this problem.

The good news is that this is an easy problem to eliminate.

Regular visits to the dentist followed by proper oral hygiene virtually eliminates the disease in most cases. Left unattended, gingivitis will lead very quickly to periodontal disease. Periodontal Disease is an advanced form of gingivitis that requires surgical treatments as well as more frequent visits to the dentist that end up costing the patients thousands of dollars and in some cases the loss of all their teeth.

tongue brush

It makes since that one would brush and floss twice a day properly. I say properly because most people are not brushing the oral cavity in a way that will inprove their oral health. Believe it or not, the most important structures to focus on while brushing your teeth are the tongue and gums. The teeth are almost self-cleansing! Focusing on the junction between the gum and teeth attacks the area that 95% of the plaque accumulate. The tongue is a great hiding place for the bacteria as well. In addition most people don't replace their tooth brush as often as they should. Ask your dentist for several tooth brushes at your next cleaning appointment and replace them every month.

Consider the amount of bacteria that is just having a carnival on a tooth brush that has been in use for six months or longer!

Proper brushing should be preceded by proper flossing. That is the only way that we are able to clean and smooth the inter-proximal areas of our teeth. Probably the best time to floss is before going to bed. If you forget to floss in the morning make sure to pay particular attention to the flossing time when you brush your teeth before going to bed. The teeth at night have very little or no mechanical stimulation during the hours that we are asleep. This can cause the plaque that has organized in the daily hours to begin to mineralize and form tarter or Calculus. Calculus can only be removed professionally by the hygienist.

There is no question that paying attention to these simple and cost effective personal hygiene steps are essential to ones general health and personal presentation. The next time you meet someone for the first time, be aware of these subliminal signals and see if they are obvious and powerful. I think you will see that it is a much larger aspect of your impression of the other person than you realize.


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