Your Oral Health Plays An Important Role In the Overall Health of Your Body
February marks American Heart Month, a great time to commit to establishing a healthy lifestyle so you can lead a lifetime of positive heart health. Did you know that getting on the track to better heart health can be as easy as visiting your dentist? Behind those bright shining smiles, evidence shows that there is a strong correlation between periodontal disease and other diseases in the body, including those that can affect your heart.
What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?
Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth and is caused by plaque. Plaque—a sticky film that is constantly forming on your teeth—contains bacteria that produce harmful toxins. If your teeth aren’t cared for properly, the toxins can irritate and inflame the gums, which can form pockets that provide an unwelcome home for more bacteria. Untreated pockets mean the disease can worsen, causing bone and other tissues that support the teeth to be further damaged.
Enter the Oral Systemic Correlation Evidence:
According to the Center for Disease Control’s National Health and Nutrition Survey, more than 60 million Americans show signs of mild, moderate or severe periodontal (gum) disease. As periodontal disease progresses, bacterial enzymes break down the gum tissue, which allows bacteria to enter the body. Because your gums are full of blood vessels, bacteria can get into your bloodstream and trigger inflammation—which can cause damage to blood vessels, including those of the heart.
What are the warning signs?
- Red, tender or swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Loose teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Painful chewing
- Food accumulation in gums
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums or longer appearing teeth
- Pus between gums or teeth
Although the warning signs can be evident, sometimes it takes a trained dentist to make the correlation between other possible diseases that often cause no pain and have few, if any symptoms.
What Can Be Done to Prevent Periodontal Disease?
Good oral hygiene is crucial in preventing periodontal disease. By thorough daily brushing and flossing, you can remove these germs and help prevent this disease. In addition, a professional cleaning at a minimum of every 6 months can be just what you need to get to those hidden places where your toothbrush and flossing might have missed.
The Right Dental Check-Up Could Save Your Life.
Runaway gum disease can cause serious problems—it can even be deadly. That’s why it’s more important than ever to brush and floss twice a day, get dental checkups every six months and see your dentist right away with any problems.
This month, make a commitment to keep your heart strong and healthy. Call us today to learn more about how you can better protect your teeth, gums, and overall health.