Your Heart: One More Reason to See Your Dentist

If you pay attention to your health and your heart, you might spend quite a bit of time and money adopting a specific diet, buying nutritional supplements, or participating in fitness programs. And these are all great things to do, not just for the health of your heart, but also for your overall well-being.

That said, there’s another easy win out there that many people overlook: their dental health. You know, those trips to your favorite local dentists aren’t just meant to get you those gleaming pearly whites and movie star smiles. They may also play a role in warding off heart disease and other heart-related conditions.

Many studies have indicated that there is a correlation between poor oral health and heart disease. These studies have hinted at the fact that it might be possible to prevent heart disease by simply taking better care of your mouth. One such study, by the American Academy of Periodontology, showed that people who had periodontal diseases were twice as likely to develop heart disease when compared to individuals without gum disease.

What’s more, studies simultaneously published in both the American Journal of Cardiology and the Journal of Periodontology showed that inflammation is a critical part of heart disease. And the inflammation from gum disease plays a significant role in increasing the levels of inflammation all over the body, including blood vessels, thus increasing the chances of heart disease.

As a result, part of the recommendations of the paper is that periodontists and cardiologists advise their patients about the risks of heart disease if they have periodontal disease and check them for any potential predisposition.

There are also other studies that have also found a link between clogged arteries in the legs and gum disease, thus increasing the patient’s risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as stroke. One more reason to make regular visits to your dentist.

Good Oral Hygiene Habits to Adopt

Now that you know this, it is important to take the necessary steps to prevent the gum disease and tooth decay. If you’ve been living with some bad habits, it’s time to turn them around and adopt some good ones.

Brush and Floss Frequently

Yes, we know that flossing can be a bit of a bother. But the couple of minutes it really takes to get the job done is far outweighed by the benefits to your health. The same goes for brushing — at least twice a day. Fifteen minutes out of your day is really all it takes, and it really makes an impact.

Visit Your Local Dentist Frequently

Your friendly local dentist isn’t just there for when you have toothaches or need your teeth polished — they are also a part of your routine maintenance. Take advantage of their expertise and make sure you are scheduling regular oral health checkups. At the very least, you should visit your dentist twice a year. In addition to helping you stay healthy, they can help you identify problems before they even become problems. If you’ve got the early onset of gum disease, chances are your dentist will spot it before you do. If you know it’s been a while, find a dentist in your area like Dr. Johnson in Fort Lauderdale and get an appointment on the books. Don’t let it slide.

Treat Your Mouth With Care

Avoid dangerous and risky behaviors like opening corks with your teeth, biting your nails, ignoring sores in your mouth and other seemingly minor conditions. Admittedly, studies have shown that periodontal disease is often hereditary, but what that means is that you  may have an additional responsibility to your health to stay on top on your dental health.

Treat your mouth with respect. Give it the care it deserves, and it will take care of you.

Further Reading:

http://www.joponline.org/doi/pdf/10.1902/jop.2009.097001

https://www.perio.org/consumer/perio_cardio.htm

http://www.ajconline.org/article/S0002-9149(09)01025-X/fulltext

Oscar King is a freelance writer and family man who contributes articles and insights into the blessings and challenges of home life and caring for a family.