February is American Heart Month, a time to raise awareness about the leading cause of death in America: heart disease.
While taking care of your heart is largely a matter of making smart choices in terms of diet and exercise, other health-related habits may have an impact on your heart health as well. One of these is oral health.
Researchers are still exploring the connection between oral health and heart health, but current findings suggest that the connection is there, and worth paying attention to.
What’s the connection, exactly?
According to the Mayo Clinic, people who suffer from gum disease (periodontitis) are at greater risk for developing heart disease. The Clinic also points out that tooth loss patterns (which could be affected by poor oral health) seem to have a connection to coronary artery disease.
It’s all about the bacteria.
How could there possibly be a connection between what goes on in your mouth and what goes on in your chest? Most significantly, they are both impacted by bacteria. When bacteria is allowed to grow in your mouth, due to poor oral care habits, it can enter your bloodstream and make its way to your heart. The bacteria in your mouth can also cause inflammation, which is common in people with cardiovascular disease.
Keeping your mouth healthy.
There’s no guarantee that perfecting your oral hygiene routine will ensure that you never get heart disease. However, the correlation is hard to ignore.
Improving and maintaining your oral health doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Make sure you:
- Brush and floss daily. These are the basic building blocks of good oral hygiene.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking will affect your oral health and is itself bad for your heart as well.
- Eat well. Unhealthy foods and snacks are bad for your mouth and your heart.
- Have your teeth cleaned regularly. Regular cleanings are essential when it comes to oral health.
- Talk to your dentist. Your dentist can give you all the information you need to know about oral health and its benefits for your overall health. He/she can also watch for warning signs of gum disease or any other oral problem that may be correlated to heart problems.
By developing a healthy oral care routine and building other healthy habits as well, you may be able to reduce your risk for heart disease. Now that’s something to smile about!
Smile Concepts is committed to helping our patients have healthy mouths and happy smiles. Contact us today to discuss how we can work together to improve and maintain your oral health. Call us at 480-951-2800, or fill out our online form. We look forward to smiling with you!