February is American Hearth Month. On this day dedicated to all things pertaining to love, we thought we'd throw a little love the way of our hearts! Many of us are aware of how important a healthy heart is and the seriousness of ailments such as cardiovascular diseases, which causes more than 30 percent of deaths globally. Along with coronary artery disease and heart attack, these diseases affect the structure and function of the heart.
Did you know that in addition to watching your weight, eating a healthy diet, exercising and not smoking, studies have shown it may be beneficial to also actively maintain the care of your teeth and gums to aid in keeping your heart healthy?
Healthy Teeth, Healthy Heart
We know maintaining strong, healthy teeth and gums is important for our dental health. Lax oral hygiene can lead to plaque buildup, resulting in the irritated, inflamed gums that are a telltale sign of gingivitis. If left untreated, this plaque buildup spreads below the gum line causing periodontal disease which is when the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums and can cause a chronic inflammatory response, turning on the gum tissue and bone that supports the teeth.
The bacteria associated with periodontal disease releases toxins into the bloodstream which can help form fatty plaque in the arteries. These, in turn, can lead to blood clots, resulting in blood flow blockage. It is also suggested that these bacteria cause the liver to make high levels of certain proteins, which inflame the blood vessels. Inflammation eventually could lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Although more research is needed to determine the connection between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease, we do know that prevention and, if necessary, treatment of periodontal disease is beneficial to your dental health. If you are exhibiting any of the below symptoms and it's been awhile since your last check-up, schedule an appointment today.
- Persistent bad breath
- Gums that are tender, swollen or bleed when you brush your teeth
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Loose teeth
- A change in your bite
It's always best to maintain good dental health to avoid progressing to these advanced symptoms, but it is never too late to come in and start to get the care and good health you need.
Note: Information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified dental and medical health providers with questions you may have regarding your specific dental or medical conditions.