Right now, there are about 10-15 billion bacteria in your mouth, classified into over 600 different identifiable strains. In spite of our visceral loathing for germs, scientists now know that many types of bacteria are essential to maintaining the human body’s delicate ecological balance, and many of the microbes in your mouth do exactly that. Some, however, are dangerous, and can become severely detrimental to your oral structures if not addressed. As facial and oral surgeons in Pocatello, Dr. Baker and Dr. Jepsen know well the destruction that can stem from oral bacteria run rampant.
One Germ to Start it All
Porphyromonas gingivalis is perhaps the most notorious of the various bacteria that can lead to oral health issues. Its propensity for inciting your body’s inflammatory response makes it especially dangerous, and is the main factor in its involvement in gum disease. As contributors to the formation of dental plaque (the sticky collection of bacteria that adheres to your teeth at times), P. gingivalis collect along your gum line. If not removed (by brushing and flossing, for instance), the germs can irritate your gums and cause them to pull away from your teeth. The formation of these small periodontal pockets, along with the customary red and inflamed gums, is a sign of the first stage of gum disease: gingivitis. While germs can spell bad news by themselves, the destructive force behind progressive gum disease is inflammation, which is your immune system’s response to the presence of harmful pathogens and other unwanted biological agents.
The Progression of Oral Destruction
As gum disease progresses, it damages the connective tissue that holds your gums to your teeth, which can cause your teeth to become loose and eventually fall out. In fact, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in America. Because it is progressive, it will not stop if you do not treat it. The disease will continue to destroy your gum tissue, and can spread down through your teeth’s supporting structures, destroying your jawbone as well. If you experience symptoms of gum disease, such as inflamed and bleeding gums, see your dentist as soon as possible for a dental examination.
To learn more about the dangers of facial destruction, or to speak with your Pocatello facial and oral surgeons about cleft lip or cleft palate, call our Pocatello office at (208) 232-2807. We also have offices in Blackfoot and Preston, and proudly serve families from across Southeast Idaho.