February is a month where people often start planning special days and gifts for their valentine. However, did you also know that it’s considered American Heart Health Month? That makes it the perfect time to start thinking about ways you can take better care of your heart in the long-term. However, many people don’t know that their oral health has more influence on their heart than they may realize. To learn more about this under reported connection, keep reading!
Gum Disease and Heart Disease
Many people know that the leading cause of death in the United States is heart disease, but most don’t know about the many years of research backing up the claim that dental disease could be more influential to heart health than what has been previously reported. In fact, research published at Harvard Medical School noted that those with gum disease were two to three times more likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular event.
While the potential connection needs to be studied further, researchers believe it may be tied to the increased levels of inflammation in the body. Since gum disease is in fact an infection, it can not only increase inflammation, but allow bacteria that’s typically exclusive to the mouth to travel to other parts of the body through the bloodstream.
We may already know about dental plaque that attacks enamel and leads to gum disease, but did you know that bacteria can permeate the barrier separating the mouth and the body and increase the risk of cardiovascular conditions, such as plaque buildup on the lining of the heart and the arteries?
Thankfully, there are ways to avoid gum disease (and potentially heart disease) by taking a few simple steps.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Oral Health?
Gum disease can develop even when you aren’t aware of it, making it extremely important to maintain daily oral hygiene and stay on top of professional exams and cleanings. To reduce your risk of gum disease and ensure whole-body wellness along the way, make sure that you:
- Brush at least twice a day for at least two minutes at a time
- Floss daily to remove plaque from the sides of teeth
- Visit a dentist at least once every six months for an exam and cleaning
- Reduce consumption of sugars and starches which can contribute to gum disease
- Quit smoking and using all tobacco products which have been proven to contribute to gum disease
Make February the month that you not only care about your valentine, but your heart as well. Set up a routine checkup with a holistic dentist today to ensure you don’t have underlying symptoms of gum disease!
About The Center for Advanced Dentistry
Dr. Hornstein and Dr. Schlessel not only care about helping patients maintain their oral health, but their whole-body wellness as well. As holistic dentists, catching and treating dental disease is just as important as protecting your overall health, particularly your heart health. If you’d like to schedule an appointment at their office, feel free to contact them through their website!