Now that it is February, you are probably preparing yourself for Valentine’s day to come around. However, you have another reason why you should be thinking about your heart. This month is American Heart Health Month. Your smile has a lot more to do with your cardiovascular health than you may think, and there is no better time to learn more about their relationship. A dentist in Hamden shares more about how maintaining excellent oral health can help you to keep your heart strong.
How Are Oral and Cardiovascular Health Related?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common issue that many Americans develop throughout their lives. Approximately half of adults in the country who are 30 years of age or older are suffering from gum disease at one severity or another. This is an infection of the tissue that surrounds and supports the teeth. When left untreated, irreversible issues, like gum recession, loose teeth, tooth loss, and bone deterioration, can develop.
Unfortunately, periodontal disease is not limited to the oral cavity. It is also linked to all sorts of different health problems throughout the body, including diabetes and heart disease. It isn’t exactly clear what the connection is between the two, but the inflammation that develops from periodontitis is a likely contributor. People who are dealing with gum disease are three times more likely to experience a heart attack, stroke, or another serious cardiovascular event in the future.
How Can Gum Disease Be Prevented?
Even though gum disease is very common amongst adults, it is also easy to prevent. Here are some steps that you should be taking to keep your gums healthy:
- Brush Twice Every Day: To remove plaque, food debris, and bacteria from the surface of your teeth and above the gumline, you should be brushing twice each day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoridated toothpaste.
- Floss Daily: On its own, brushing isn’t enough. There are some areas of the mouth where your toothbrush can’t reach. That’s why it is so important to use dental floss every day in order to clear away plaque and bacteria from between the teeth and beneath the gumline.
- Don’t Use Tobacco Products: Smoking doubles your risk of developing periodontal disease, and it is also linked to oral cancer. Talk to your doctor, friends, and family about the best ways that you can give up smoking.
- Go to the Dentist: You should see your dentist every six months for a regular cleaning and checkup. They will be able to determine if you would benefit from periodontal therapy.
- Know Your Risk: There are many factors that contribute to your probability of developing gum disease. Keep your age, genetics, and diet in mind.
By using the tips above, you can keep not just your smile healthy, but also boost the health of your heart. This way, you can set yourself up for success.
About the Author
Dr. Ronald J. D’Andrea earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine from the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine. He is currently a member of the American Dental Association and the Connecticut State Dental Association. If you are struggling with gum disease, Dr. D’Andrea would be happy to help. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit his website or call (203) 288-0951.