In February, hearts are abundant. Stores are filled with heart-shaped candies and candy boxes, bakery goods, cards, balloons, and more…. Thanks to Valentine’s Day, constant reminders of hearts are in no short supply. So February is an appropriate time for American Heart Month, which aims at raising awareness of heart health. It’s a great opportunity to take a look at the link between heart health and oral health.
Although gum disease has not been proven to cause heart disease, people with poor oral health are more likely to have heart attacks that those with healthy mouths. Medical experts have found the very same bacteria that are present with active infections in the mouths of patients with gum disease in hardening arteries. High levels of C-reactive proteins can occur with advanced cases of gum disease, at levels that also indicate an increased risk for heart attack. With both being inflammatory conditions, the swelling that occurs inside the mouth with gum disease is similar to the swelling of the arteries present in patients with heart problems. Some research has indicated that oral illnesses may even be a more serious predictive factor for heart attack than smoking or high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
If you experience bleeding gums during brushing or flossing, red, tender, or swollen gums, bad breath that doesn’t go away, a persistent bad taste in the mouth, loose teeth, or gums that are receding or pulling away from your teeth, these are all symptoms of gum disease.
The very best thing you can do to prevent gum disease is to brush twice daily for two minutes using proper technique, and floss at least once a day. Getting regular professional cleanings and exams is also vital. Mild gum disease caught early (such as gingivitis) may be reversible, and more aggressive gum disease can be kept in check with proper treatment.
At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we are happy to help our patients take control of their oral health and keep their smile in shape. Do your mouth and possibly even your heart a favor by taking great care your teeth and gums. Maintain an excellent home hygiene routine and make sure to come see us regularly for your professional cleanings. You may help your heart while helping your smile!