Valentine’s Day always steals the spotlight when February rolls around, but it’s important to remember that it’s also American Heart Month. Your heart plays an essential role in your overall health, pumping blood throughout your body to deliver oxygen and other nutrients to the brain and other vital organs. Well, did you know that caring for your smile is another effective way to keep your heart in tip-top shape? Read on to learn how developing oral health issues like gum disease can negatively affect your cardiovascular system.
What Is Gum Disease?
Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is an infection of the gums that is easily preventable with good oral hygiene. Of course, some people may have a genetic predisposition to the condition. Certain medications and hormonal changes during pregnancy can also make people more susceptible to it. Although the first stage of gum disease (gingivitis) is easy to treat, the more advanced form (periodontitis) can do a lot of damage to your mouth and other parts of the body.
The Link Between Oral Health & Your Heart
If you fail to treat gum disease, it can spread beyond the mouth, leading to complications in other parts of the body. In fact, people with gum infections are up to three times more likely to experience a heart attack, stroke, or another major cardiovascular event. Chronic inflammation (a common side effect of gum disease) can lead to heart problems like atherosclerosis. This condition makes the arteries thicken or harden, eventually causing the patient to have a stroke or heart attack.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
The best way to prevent gum disease is by practicing good oral hygiene. Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and rinsing every day with an ADA-approved mouthwash are healthy habits to follow every day. Some other ways to lower your risk of gum disease include:
- Avoid smoking and using tobacco. Poor habits like smoking and using tobacco can make people far more likely to develop gum disease. It can lead to oral cancer and other serious issues. If you need help cutting it out of your life, don’t hesitate to reach out.
- Drink plenty of water. Make sure you stay hydrated! A dry mouth can allow the bacteria that cause gum disease to flourish. Keep your gums healthy by drinking lots of water, chewing sugar-free gum, and munching on fresh fruits and veggies to increase saliva production.
- Visit your dentist regularly. Instead of waiting for an oral health issue to arise, make sure you visit your dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning. This will allow them to identify and treat problems before they have a chance to do any lasting damage.
About the Practice
Our team at Tamborello Dental Associates takes pride in delivering the best oral care services for patients of all ages. We offer a range of preventive and restorative treatments, helping your smile stay in its very best shape. If you’re struggling to manage your gum disease, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance. You can schedule an appointment via our website or call (713) 522-7540.