When you think of February, the thing you probably think about most is Valentine’s Day. However, there is another reason why you should be thinking of your heart. This months is national Heart Health Month. This is the perfect time to learn more about your body so you can stay healthy. One step that you should be taking to keep your cardiovascular health in good shape is by maintaining an excellent oral hygiene routine. A dentist in Dublin warns that the two have more in common than you may think. Continue reading to learn more about the relationship between the health of your smile and heart.
What Is the Relationship Between Oral and Cardiovascular Health?
There is actually a connection between gum disease and heart disease. Approximately half of Americans who are 30 years of age or older are dealing with periodontal disease at some severity. This is an infection of the tissue that is surrounding the teeth. Ultimately, when left to progress, it can lead to irreversible issues like gum recession, loose teeth, tooth loss, and bone loss.
Heart disease is a blood vessel disorder that can even lead to a heart attack when the blood flow is blocked. People who have gum disease are three times more likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or another serious cardiovascular event. It isn’t exactly clear what the relationship is between periodontal disease and heart health, but inflammation caused by gum disease is a contributor.
How Do You Prevent Periodontal Disease?
Even though gum disease is very common, there are steps that you can take to prevent it from occurring in the first place:
- Brush Twice Daily: To remove food particles, plaque, and bacteria from the teeth, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoridated toothpaste to brush twice daily.
- Floss Every Day: Brushing isn’t enough by itself. There are certain areas that your toothbrush’s bristles cannot reach. Be sure that you are flossing each day in order to remove plaque and bacteria from between the teeth and beneath the gumline.
- See Your Dentist: You should be seeing your dentist every six months for regular cleanings and checkups. If they notice that you are showing any signs of gum disease, it can be treated early on before becoming too serious.
- Don’t Smoke: Using tobacco products doubles your risk for developing periodontal disease and is also linked to oral cancer. Talk to your doctor, friends, and family about the best ways for you to quit for good!
- Know Your Risk: There are many different things that play a role when it comes to your gum disease risk. Keep things like your age, genetics, and diet in mind. If you have concerns, discuss them with your dentist.
Many things contribute to the health of your heart, and your oral health is no exception. By taking steps every day to keep your smile in good shape, you may even be able to save your life!
About the Author
Dr. Eric Buck earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery from The Ohio State University College of Dentistry. Currently, he is involved in numerous professional organizations, including the Ohio Dental Association, American Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, and the Columbus Dental Society. He is also a visiting faculty member at Spear Dental Education. To learn more about gum health or to schedule an appointment at his office in Dublin, OH, visit his website or call (614) 792-1800.