Want to know what I do to keep my heart healthy? I brush and floss my teeth every day. That may sound obvious coming from a dentist, but the fact of the matter is taking care of your teeth and gums is one of the best things you can do for your heart. The research is confirmed that oral hygiene and regular dental checkups are integral to healthy living. February is American Heart Health Month, so keep reading to learn more.
The Link Between Your Mouth and Your Heart
Scientists, dentists and physicians now understand that the condition of your mouth can impact the health of the rest of your body. They’ve even given it a specific name: the oral-systemic connection.
In regard to heart health specifically, studies have shown how harmful bacteria that accumulate in your mouth when you have gum disease can dislodge and enter your bloodstream. Once there, the bacteria could latch on to the wall of vessels, thereby increasing your risk of blood clots. These clots could decrease blood flow, increase blood pressure and eventually cause a heart attack.
How Does Seeing a Dentist Help?
There are certain components to a dental checkup that may play an important role in keeping your heart healthy. First, the American Dental Association protocol now calls for reading your blood pressure at each checkup. You’d be surprised to know how often a dentist is the first healthcare provider to notice the risk of a patient’s high blood pressure. When this happens, we refer patients immediately to their primary care physicians.
Next, we will perform a thorough teeth cleaning to remove the bacterial plaque and tartar that lead to gum disease. Both plaque and tartar, which is calcified plaque, tend to build up along the gum line. When not removed regularly, bacteria can attack tissue below the gum line. The resulting infection could not only harm your oral health, but your heart and general health, too.
What Can You Do for Your Heart and Your Smile?
In addition to scheduling twice yearly dental checkups, be sure to take care of your teeth at home. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once daily. These two practices take only minutes, but they go a long way toward reducing the number of harmful bacteria in your mouth.
To keep your smile and your heart in good shape, call our office today to schedule a dental checkup if you’re due.
Meet the Doctor
Dr. David Groy has years of experience and extensive training. He and his team of dental hygienists take care of smiles of all ages with preventive dentistry, cosmetic treatments, restorative care and emergency dentistry. Call today for an appointment.