There are some great sayings about teeth: "Lying through your teeth does not count as flossing." "Be true to your teeth and they won't be false to you." And, of course, from Dr. Seuss's "The Tooth Book," "Teeth are always in style."
As important as it is to take care of your teeth, new information reveals their health is simply an indicator of whether or not you're taking care of the more than 700 species of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoa that live in your oral cavity.
When they're in balance, they help keep you healthy. But neglect your teeth and gums (and the health of those species), and you set yourself up for serious health problems.
According to a recent presentation at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the organisms that live in your mouth are in constant communication with your immune system, and impact your endocrine and gastrointestinal systems.
Not regularly brushing and flossing your teeth reduces the oxygen supply to healthful oral bacteria. Then they ferment, starting an assault on important bodily systems.
That's why gum disease (periodontitis) increases your risk for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diminished cognition, and difficulties with pregnancy.
The good news is that you can reverse your "bad" biome, making diabetes easier to control and stopping the attack on your immune system and organs.
How? Have gum disease treated at the first sign of tenderness and/or bleeding after flossing. Floss daily, brush twice a day, and see your dental professional at least twice a year for checkups and cleanings.