Keeping your heart healthy while keeping your smile healthy in National Heart Month
February is national heart month. In America, cardiovascular disease claims more lives than car accidents and cancer. There are many factors that go into creating heart problems. Obesity, smoking, high blood pressure and diabetes are just some of the causes that lead to heart complications, but did you know that bad oral hygiene can also contribute to heart issues?
Oral hygiene is sometimes overlooked when it relates to cardiovascular troubles. Gum inflammation like gingivitis can escalate to periodontitis disease. Symptoms of periodontitis cause gums to become inflamed and recede, and therefore begin to create bacteria pockets. If left untreated, it can cause discomfort when chewing, mouth sores, or even loss of teeth.
But how is this relevant to cardiovascular problems you ask? Researchers say that inflammation is common between gum disease and heart problems. Bacteria that collect in your gums when you have gum disease may enter your blood stream while your gums bleed. This causes the bacteria to stick to fatty deposits in your coronary arteries, in which advance to blood clots that can lead to a stroke or heart attack. The inflammatory reaction in the coronary artery walls can reduce blood flow to some dangerous levels.
But not all hope is lost; gingivitis and periodontitis can be reversible depending on the severity of the problem. If detected in the early stages, dentists have a better chance of reversing the disease with regular deep cleanings and periodontal surgery. You should also take action at home by brushing regularly and flossing. A clean diet is also something to keep in mind, as eating vegetables add vitamins to your health and drinking plenty of water to keep you hydrated. Avoid junk food as much as you can, especially indulging in sweets and soda. Sticky substances like chewy candy can leave behind sugar that sticks to your teeth creating plaque. Smoking also contributes towards bad health problems for your mouth and heart. Exercise and scheduling regular appointments with your dentist and doctor are the best way to detect a problem with your health before it’s too late.
If you have any questions or you need the assistance of Dr. Alena Nawrocki please call our Dental Arts San Diego office at (619) 444-1001
We are located at 707 ARNELE AVENUE, EL CAJON, CA 92020
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