It’s Heart Health Month, and it’s the perfect time to learn a couple ways to keep your blood flow strong! You’ve likely heard of the latest diets or exercises for maintaining good blood pressure, but how does your smile fit into this? Read on to learn how gum health is essential for keeping your heart strong!
The Relation Between Gum Disease & Heart Health
Maintaining good gum health is all about avoiding gum disease—a bacterial infection in the gums caused by plaque buildup. At first, this only causes the gums to swell, but if left untreated, it can worsen into periodontitis. At this point, the bacteria have grown strong enough to damage or destroy the connective tissues that help to hold the teeth in position.
Not only can this weaken or loosen the teeth, the bacteria can also escape into the bloodstream. They can then travel to other parts of the body, including the heart. Should the bacteria and the inflammation they cause reach the inner linings or chambers of the heart, the person will be at a heightened risk of severe issues such as strokes and heart attacks.
5 Steps to Prevent Plaque Buildup
Since there are studies that continue to point to a connection between gum and heart disease, the best course of action would be to avoid plaque buildup. This can be done simply by practicing the following methods:
- Brushing Twice Daily: For at least two minutes twice a day, you can brush your teeth while paying your gum line extra attention.
- Flossing Once Daily: Your brush won’t be able to reach between your teeth like a floss will. Together, they make the dynamic duo of plaque removal!
- Knowing Your Risk Factors: Sometimes personal conditions like age, diet, and genetics can affect your risk of gum disease. Be sure to inform your dentist so a solid prevention plan can be made.
- Cutting Out Tobacco Use: Smoking or chewing tobacco won’t improve your overall health. By avoiding these products, you can help reduce your risk of health issues, especially oral cancer.
- Visiting Your Dentist Twice Yearly: Your dentist can provide a checkup and cleaning to help you stay on track with a healthy smile. They can even detect and treat developing issues early before they worsen.
Taking charge of your gum health is all about maintaining good dental hygiene. With these tips in mind, you’ll be better prepared to fight against cardiovascular disease. Speak with your dentist if you want to know more ways to maintain a great smile and a healthy heart!
About the Author
Dr. Michael L. Howard earned his doctorate from the Emory University School of Dentistry. As a member of the Georgia and American Dental Associations, and the Northwestern District Dental Society of Georgia, he is passionate to provide high-quality dental care using the latest technology. He offers a variety of treatments such as dental checkups, cleanings, and gum disease therapy. If you’re ready to schedule your regular dental checkup, visit his website or call (770) 425-2001.