February is American Heart Month, making it a perfect time to look at your cardiovascular health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, so you’ll naturally want to do whatever you can to avoid it. But did you realize that the state of your mouth might have an impact on your heart? Here’s how oral health and heart health are more connected than you might think.
How Oral Health Affects Your Heart
Many studies have shown that people with gum disease are more likely to suffer from various other health issues, and that includes heart disease. In fact, it’s estimated that gum disease increases a person’s risk for heart problems by roughly 20%.
What’s the reason behind this connection? For one thing, untreated gum disease may lead to inflammation in the rest of the body. This can lead to the narrowing of your arteries, thus making a heart attack more likely. Furthermore, the bacteria that cause gum disease may enter your bloodstream, allowing them to reach the heart and cause an infection.
How Can You Protect Your Oral Health and Heart Health?
If you want to protect your heart, you need to take whatever steps you can to prevent gum disease and keep your mouth as healthy as possible. Fortunately, there are plenty of steps you can take to maintain excellent oral hygiene:
- Brush your teeth thoroughly at least two times every day. Make sure that you’re brushing near the gumline.
- Floss at least once a day. This helps prevent plaque buildup in areas that a toothbrush can’t reach.
- Use mouthwash regularly to kill harmful bacteria you might have missed while brushing and flossing.
- If you smoke or chew tobacco, break the habit as soon as possible. Tobacco products can significantly increase your risk for gum disease and heart attacks.
- Make sure your diet consists of plenty of foods that are good for your gums as well as your heart, such as crunchy vegetables.
- Visit your dentist every six months. They can check for signs of gum disease that you might have overlooked, and they may also be able to identify ways you can improve your oral hygiene routine.
- Be aware of the warning signs of gum disease such as bad breath that doesn’t go away and gums that bleed easily. If you find any reason to doubt your gum health, seek professional treatment right away.
While preventing gum disease won’t guarantee that you never suffer from heart problems, it’s still important for maintaining a healthy mouth and body. Reach out to your dentist immediately if you have any concerns about gum disease.
About the Practice
At Marvel Dental, we’re proud to have multiple talented dental experts under a single roof to bring our patients the highest quality care possible. We always make comfort a top priority, and we offer convenient early morning, evening, and weekend appointment times. We offer various kinds of periodontal therapy to keep gum disease under control. To schedule an appointment at our Midlothian office, visit our website or call (682) 772-3072.