What comes to mind when you think of the month of February? Most likely, hearts for Valentine’s Day, right? During this heart health month, it’s also the perfect time to learn about how to keep your heart strong.
Perhaps the thought of tackling such a complex, prominent problem as heart disease feels impossible. But did you know that you can give your heart a little bit of love by taking care of your smile? Read on to learn more about how avoiding gum disease can help your heart.
What Is Heart Disease?
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, leading to one out of every four deaths. It is often referred to as a “silent killer” because there usually aren’t many noticeable symptoms until an event like a heart attack occurs.
Although the risk factors for heart disease are complex, you can reduce your chances of experiencing a cardiovascular event like a heart attack or stroke by maintaining a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, regular exercise, getting quality sleep, and drinking plenty of water. However, another important way you can help your heart function is by taking good care of your oral health!
What Is Gum Disease?
Did you know that nearly half of American adults over the age of 30 have advanced gum disease? Although common, this condition can be quite dangerous if left untreated. It starts out as gingivitis, which consists of red, puffy gums that bleed easily. As it progresses, the gum tissue recedes, exposing tooth roots, and the jawbone starts to deteriorate.
Without treatment, tooth loss become inevitable. In fact, as the leading cause of tooth loss, gum disease is the primary reason that 120 million people in America are missing at least one tooth and why 36 million have no natural teeth at all!
How Is Gum Disease Linked to Heart Disease?
Although researchers aren’t completely sure how, many studies have shown that these two diseases are directly connected. Those who have uncontrolled gum disease are significantly more likely to develop heart disease than patients who maintain good oral health. One reason behind this could be inflammation. The inflammatory bacteria responsible for gum disease may enter the bloodstream and lead to a similar reaction elsewhere in the body. Areas where blood flow is already restricted could be aggravated by inflammation, increasing the odds of a heart attack or stroke.
What Can You Do to Prevent Gum Disease?
The best way to deal with gum disease is to avoid it from the beginning. Fortunately, it requires simple actions: brushing and flossing your teeth every day and visiting the dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups. For those who already have gum disease, the condition can be controlled through gum disease therapy and better oral hygiene at home.
Ultimately, stopping gum disease may not prevent heart disease completely, but it is a simple step that could help your heart in the long run. Show a little love to your heart by giving love to your smile!
About the Author
Dr. Dhavalkumar Rana firmly believes in the power of prevention and encourages patients to practice healthy oral habits at home to avoid gum disease and other issues. He is an active member of the American Dental Association, Texas Dental Association, and Dallas County Dental Association. If you have questions about gum disease, or if you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Rana, you can contact TrueCare Dentistry in Mesquite through the website or by calling 469-399-7288.