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DID YOU KNOW? GUM HEALTH AND HEART HEALTH ARE LINKED

Dentist checking smileBy taking proactive measures to prevent and manage gum disease, individuals can not only preserve their smiles but also protect their hearts – dental care is an essential component of maintaining overall well-being. We are here to help.

In the pursuit of good overall health, dental care can sometimes take a back seat – but the mouth is the gateway to the body. More and more evidence is becoming available confirming the link between oral health (particularly periodontal disease) and heart (cardiovascular) health.

Understanding this link is crucial so let’s explore why every dental patient should pay attention to their heart health.

Periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the gums and the bone supporting the teeth. It begins with the accumulation of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria and food, on the teeth. If not removed through regular brushing and flossing, it hardens into tartar, leading to gum inflammation and, eventually, periodontal disease.

Research has discovered that the bacteria responsible for periodontal disease can enter the bloodstream and can travel to other parts of the body, including the arteries of the heart. This can contribute to the formation of arterial plaque, a known component of heart disease. Moreover, the inflammation triggered by periodontal disease may also exacerbate existing heart conditions, making it a double effect.

One study published found that treating gum disease can improve blood vessel function, reducing the risk of heart disease. More research published in the Journal of Periodontology revealed that patients with periodontal disease are nearly twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as those without.

Prevention and management of periodontal disease is pivotal in safeguarding heart health. Here are a few key steps individuals can take:

Maintain good oral hygiene: brush teeth twice daily, floss nightly and use mouthwash to reduce plaque levels and the growth of harmful bacteria.

Regular Dental Visits: visit your dentist regularly, at least twice a year, for professional scaling and polishing and to catch any dental issues early

Healthy Lifestyle Choices: adopt a balanced diet, quit smoking, limit alcohol consumption. These changes support oral and overall health

Manage Stress: Chronic stress can contribute to both periodontal disease and heart disease. Practice stress-reducing activities like yoga, get adequate sleep and get your teeth checked for signs of clenching/grinding

Awareness and Education: being informed about your family history and your own risk factors is essential. Understanding the risks can motivate better oral care habits

By taking proactive measures to prevent and manage gum disease, individuals can not only preserve their smiles but also protect their hearts – dental care is an essential component of maintaining overall well-being. We are here to help.

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