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A Healthy Heart Relies on a Healthy Smile

February 2, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — dereksongdmd @ 7:22 am
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When you first think about the month of February, you are probably focused on Valentine’s Day, but you have another reason to be thinking about your heart. This month is Heart Health Month! There is no better time for you to be learning about how your cardiovascular and oral health are related. In order to keep your heart in good shape, it is important that you are focused on your oral hygiene. Read on to learn about the relationship between your heart and your smile.

How Are Oral and Cardiovascular Health Related

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an incredibly common issue throughout the United States. Did you know that half of Americans over the age of 30 are suffering from some stage of this condition? It is an infection of the tissue that surrounds and supports the teeth. When it is left without being treated, it can progress to the point where it causes irreversible problems, like gum recession, loose teeth, tooth loss, and bone shrinkage.

Periodontal disease doesn’t only affect the mouth. It can cause a wide variety of other issues throughout the body, including heart disease. It isn’t clear what the exact connection is between the two health issues, but inflammation that develops from periodontitis is a likely contributor. Heart disease is a blood vessel disorder that can lead to a heart attack when blood flow becomes blocked. People who have periodontal disease are three times as likely to experience a heart attack, stroke, or another serious cardiovascular event.

How Can You Prevent Periodontal Disease?

While periodontal disease is highly common, it is also easily preventable. Here are a few steps that you should be taking to keep it from occurring:

  • Brush twice daily: In order to remove plaque, food particles, and bacteria from the teeth, you should be using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoridated toothpaste to brush twice daily.
  • Floss every day: Brushing isn’t enough on its own. There are some areas of the mouth where your toothbrush can’t quite reach. Use floss to remove plaque and bacteria from between the teeth and beneath the gumline.
  • Avoid tobacco products: Smoking doubles your risk of developing periodontal disease, and it is also linked to oral cancer among other health issues. Talk to your doctor, friends, and family about the best ways that you can give it up for good.
  • Visit a dentist: You should be seeing your dentist every six months for regular checkups. If they notice any signs of gum disease, it can be treated early on.
  • Know your risk: There are multiple factors that could put you at higher risk for developing gum disease, including age, genetics, and diet. You should know what your risk is.

Your oral health is important for all sorts of different reasons, but one of them is to keep your heart in check. By maintaining excellent oral hygiene and seeing your dentist regularly, you could be setting yourself up for a longer life!

About the Author

Dr. Derek Song earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine from Boston University’s Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine. He is currently a member of the American Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, and the Massachusetts Dental Association. For more ways to keep your smile healthy or to schedule an appointment at his office in Burlington, visit his website or call (781) 272-5890.

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