Is there plaque on your teeth? If you have, you could have a greater risk of developing a form of cancer , claims a new study, that has established a direct link between oral hygiene and cancer .
People with the greatest incidence of plaque were nearly twice as likely to have cancer, and, in women , it was most likely to cause breast cancer. Researchers from Helsinki University found a direct link between amounts of plaque and the risk of cancer when they looked at cancer rates and oral hygiene in 1,390 people. Source: British Medical Journal 2012 2 e001083.
So What Exactly is Plaque?
Plaque is that sticky, white substance that forms on teeth, between them and in the area between the teeth and gums called the sulcus. Plaque is seen as the main cause of gum disease. Look into a mirror and run a fingernail along the baseline of your teeth. You will probably see a white deposit. This is plaque.
Yes. The plaque in your mouth is a complex mixture of bacteria, protein strands, fluids and cells . As long as plaque is ‘healthy’ it will protect the teeth and repel harmful bacteria. In her groundbreaking book ‘Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye’, Dr. Ellie Phillips describes healthy plaque as a kind of comforter that covers and protects teeth. If ‘bad’ bacteria invade this comforter the whole situation changes and the comforter is no longer protective, instead becoming a source of risk and damage. Plaque is at first a healthy layer on your teeth that only becomes unhealthy when your mouth becomes acidic.
This is a really important point . When this happens the enzymes and the bacterial toxins in the plaque attack healthy gums and teeth, causing damage and inflammation . The cause of gum disease is not the plaque itself but the harmful bacteria in the plaque. This harmful bacteria turn sugars into acid. Normally this acid is quite weak and won’t seriously affect your gums or the enamel of teeth . Yet under plaque, these acids aren’t eliminated by saliva and begin to take on a new intensity .
One type of bacteria will ultimately cause the gum to swell and bleed , create ‘pockets’ as the gums loosen and push away from the tooth. Another type will dissolve enamel and cause the teeth to decay .
There is a specially designed brush, the Blotting Brush, more recently described as ‘a weapon of plaque destruction’ with a capillary action in the bristle that’s very efficient at removing the unhealthy plaque and the acid-forming bacteria. In a plaque-free mouth, even sugary foods become less destructive to the teeth.
Eating healthy foods is one positive step to keep your mouth alkaline. This therefore helps to keep plaque healthy and encourage the production of good saliva which cleans the mouth. Never forget that your saliva is the most effective mouthwash available Carbonated drinks can cause havoc in the mouth. Diet sodas are the worst of the bunch because of their high acid content. Lazy or poor brushing and flossing habits can push plaque deeper into the gum crevices around the teeth. The Blotting Brush reaches into those areas and draws the plaque out .
Once these harmful bacteria-loaded plaque deposits are removed through ‘blotting’ , the gums are on their way back to being healthy and protecting your teeth.