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  • Writer's pictureSheen Dental

The importance of oral hygiene

Oral microbiome

Humans have a complex and long evolutionary history together with various microorganisms and viruses, some pathogenic, while some beneficial. A good example of this is the human genome: a significant portion of this is actually inherited from retroviruses that have integrated into our DNA hundreds of thousands of years ago and sat there ever since, inactively. Another important aspect of this is the human microbiome: the human microbiome consists of an extremely diverse array of bacterial species, and some have very important roles in our health, such as certain vitamin producing bacteria in our gut microbiome. The oral microbiome also contains beneficial species, however some of them can feed on the sugar residues left in our mouth after a meal and produce acids as a side product. The overgrowth of bacteria can cause multiple issues, such as the accumulation of dental plaque, calculus, tooth decay and gum disease. It is very important to maintain appropriate oral hygiene to reduce your risk of developing associated dental conditions. If you are looking for a hygienist in Richmond, book an appointment with our hygienist at Sheen Dental.

Tooth decay

One of the biggest predisposing factors to the development of tooth decay and cavities is poor oral hygiene. This allows the overgrowth of certain acid producing species in the oral microbiome, which can damage the enamel and the dentin. This is because the simple organic acids these bacteria produce can enter into a slow chemical reaction with the calcium phosphate found in our teeth and slowly dissolve their mineral content until a cavity develops. It is very important to maintain good oral hygiene and periodically pay a visit to your dental hygienist to prevent the formation of cavities. If you have already experienced tooth decay, do not hesitate to get treatment for it, as untreated tooth decay can have serious consequences. In the most severe cases, the decay causing bacteria can reach and infect the innermost “living” component of the tooth, the pulp tissue, which can result in tooth loss and dental abscesses. If you would like a dental hygienist in Richmond to provide you with advice on oral hygiene, contact us, Sheen Dental for an appointment.

Periodontal disease

Another important way in which the overgrowth of oral bacteria can damage your oral health is by causing gum disease. Our immune system is always vigilant and searching for potential pathogens that invade our body. In some cases, the accumulation of oral microbes can activate our immune system due to the bacterial falsely perceived as pathogens trying to infect us. This results in inflammation in the gum tissue, which is called gingivitis. It presents with symptoms characteristic of inflammation, such as redness, sensitivity and bleeding. Chronic inflammation can damage the tissues holding our teeth in their place, resulting in periodontitis and potential tooth loss. It is very beneficial to have a dental hygienist check up on your gums periodically, as preventative dentistry can prevent later more invasive and costly interventions. If you would like a dental hygienist in Richmond to discuss gum disease prevention with you, do not hesitate to book an appointment with us, Sheen Dental.


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