February is American Heart Month! It’s well known that maintaining good oral hygiene is important for preventing cavities and gum disease, but did you know that your oral health can also affect your heart health? Here’s how:
- Gum disease and heart disease are linked. Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth. It can cause inflammation and damage to the gums, bones and other tissues in your mouth. Recent studies have shown that people with gum disease are more likely to have heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular problems.
- Bacteria from your mouth can enter your bloodstream. Poor oral hygiene can lead to the buildup of plaque, which can harden into tarter if it isn’t removed. When you have tartar on your teeth, the bacteria can enter your bloodstream through your gums and then travel to your heart.
- Heart conditions can affect your oral health. Diabetes and high blood pressure can increase your risk of developing gum disease. However, on the other hand, gum disease can also make it harder to control these conditions due to the inflammation it can cause throughout your body. This can affect your blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
So, what can you do to maintain both your oral and heart health?
- Brush and floss your teeth twice a day to remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth.
- Eat a healthy diet that is low in sugar and saturated fat.
- If you have a heart condition, make sure to follow your treatment plan and take your medications as prescribed.
- Visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and check-ups.
By taking care of your oral hygiene, you can also help protect your heart health. This month, make a commitment to keep your heart strong and healthy! Call us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Stante and learn more about how you can better protect your teeth, gums and overall health.