How Are Oral and Heart Health Related?

The first thing you think about when you think of February is probably Valentine’s Day, but there is more than one reason why you should be thinking about the wellbeing of your heart. This month is Heart Health Month. There is no better time to learn more about how your cardiovascular health and your smile are related. In order to keep your heart in healthy shape, you need to be focusing on your oral hygiene. Continue reading to find out why.

How Are Oral and Cardiovascular Health Related?

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a very common issue throughout the country. Approximately half of all American adults who are over the age of 30 are suffering from some stage of this condition. It is an infection of the tissue that surrounds and supports the teeth. If it is left without treatment, it can progress to the point where it causes irreversible problems, including gum recession, loose teeth, tooth loss, and bone shrinkage.

Unfortunately, gum disease is not limited to the oral cavity. It is linked to all sorts of different health problems throughout the body, including diabetes and heart disease. It isn’t exactly clear what the exact connection between the two is, but the inflammation that develops from periodontitis is likely a contributor. People who have periodontal disease are three times more likely to experience a heart attack, stroke, or another serious cardiovascular event.

How Can Periodontal Disease Be Prevented?

Even though gum disease is very common, it is also easy to prevent. Here are some of the steps that you should be taking in order to keep your gums in healthy shape:

  • Brush Twice Every Day: To remove plaque, food debris, and bacteria from the surface of your teeth and above the gumline, you should be brushing twice each day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Floss Daily: On its own, brushing isn’t enough. There are some areas of the mouth where your toothbrush cannot quite reach. This is why it is so important to use dental floss every day in order to clear away plaque and bacteria from between the teeth and beneath the gumline.
  • Don’t Use Tobacco Products: Smoking doubles your risk of developing periodontal disease, and it is linked to oral cancer. Talk to your doctor, friends, and family about the best ways that you can give up smoking for good.
  • See Your Dentist: You should see your dentist every six months for a regular cleaning and checkup. They will be able to determine if you would benefit from periodontal therapy.
  • Know Your Risk: There are numerous factors that contribute to your probability of developing gum disease. Think about age, genetics, and your diet.

Take the steps listed above, not just for your smile, but for the health of your heart as well. You could even be prolonging your life!


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