Good oral health is important not only for a healthy smile but also for preventing serious health problems. Studies have shown a link between poor oral health and serious health conditions, such as heart disease.
Cardiovascular disease refers to conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels. These include heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms, and heart valve problems. All of these conditions are very serious and even deadly.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the US. And the number of deaths from heart disease is significantly higher than those from any other infectious disease or condition. In fact, one in every four deaths in this country is caused by heart disease.
So what can you do to reduce your risk of developing heart disease? It all starts with taking care of your oral health. If you have an infection in your gums or elsewhere in your mouth, it can increase your risk not only for heart disease but for a variety of other diseases as well. That’s because when you’re chronically inflamed, your body attempts to counteract that inflammation. It does this by causing your arteries to narrow and harden, which increases your blood pressure. This, in turn, increases your risk for all of the above conditions.
Gum disease is a very common problem, affecting almost half of Americans over the age of 30. It’s also associated with many serious health concerns, including heart disease. In fact, those with gum disease are almost twice as likely to have coronary artery disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems. The link between the two is so strong that experts recommend those at high risk for or with heart disease should be screened for gum disease and vice versa.
Researchers believe the link is due in large part to inflammation. When gums become infected and inflamed, it can cause a number of issues throughout the body, including increased levels of bad cholesterol in your bloodstream and increased plaque buildup in the arteries. Both of these can lead to clogged arteries and, eventually, heart attack, stroke, and other health problems.
Studies have also shown a link between diabetes and gum disease. One possible explanation from researchers is that as diabetes reduces the immune system’s strength, the body is less able to fight infections in the mouth. However, more research is needed to prove this theory.
Luckily, treating gum infections can improve both oral and cardiovascular health. By thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the mouth, we can get rid of bacteria that can cause inflammation and plaque buildup. We can also treat any periodontal disease and improve overall oral health to help prevent future complications.
If it’s been a while since you’ve seen a dentist, we welcome you to call our Woodstock dental office to schedule an appointment today. We would be happy to work with you to improve your oral health and overall well-being.
It is extremely important for patients to practice good oral hygiene at home as well. Brushing twice a day and flossing at least once can protect the teeth from bacterial accumulation. Patients should also avoid tobacco products and alcohol. These substances can lower a person’s ability to heal after an oral procedure as well as increase the risk of gum disease and other oral problems.
Lastly, eating a healthy diet can be beneficial for heart health. Leafy greens, citrus fruits, and fish can all help reduce the risk of stroke or heart disease. Additionally, be sure you’re visiting your dentist regularly for checkups and teeth cleanings. These appointments allow your dentist to thoroughly clean your smile and remove plaque buildup that you may not be able to reach home. Patients should speak with their dentist to determine the best care for their unique smile.
Request an appointment or call Osuna Dental Care: Chris Y. Kim DDS at 505-884-1989 for an appointment in our Albuquerque office.