Every aspect of your body is connected in one way or another. Your oral health is no different. When your oral health suffers, it won’t just result in tooth loss, it can also affect your overall health including your heart. At Contemporary Dentistry, we don’t just want to help our patients achieve a beautiful and healthy smile, we want your whole body to reap the benefits. Learn what can happen to your heart if you neglect your oral health and how good oral hygiene will protect your heart.
What Happens To Your Heart When You Have Gum Disease
Gum disease is an infection in your gums. When you have gum disease, the bacteria in your gums can easily enter the bloodstream and travel throughout your body to your coronary arteries. The bacteria then trigger your body’s immune response which sends cells to the damaged areas to try and repair them. During this state of inflammation caused by your immune system, cholesterol deposits more easily collect along the coronary arteries which as a result, narrows them.
As your arteries narrow, the risk of a blood clot increases significantly. If a blood clot does occur, it can result in a stroke or heart attack. Overall, gum disease increases your risk of heart disease when it goes untreated. The best way to reduce your risk of heart disease associated with gum disease is to take measures to prevent gum disease and to also know the warning signs of gum disease so you can get treatment as soon as possible before damage can occur.
Warning Signs of Gum Disease
Knowing the symptoms of gum disease can help you get treatment as soon as possible and therefore reduce your risk of heart disease and the damage that can potentially occur to your arteries. These symptoms include:
- Red, swollen or sore gums
- Bleeding gums when brushing, flossing or eating
- Pus or other signs of infection near the gum line
- Receding gums
- Frequent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
If you notice any of the above symptoms, please do not hesitate to schedule an appointment by calling (585) 244-3337.
How To Protect Your Heart with Good Oral Hygiene
The key to protecting your heart from the dangers of gum disease is good oral hygiene! These simple steps can help you maintain good oral hygiene and prevent gum disease.
Brush Twice Daily
One of the easiest steps you can take is brushing your teeth twice daily. Once in the morning and once right before bedtime. Brushing your teeth is essential to remove plaque, debris, and bacteria from your mouth. It doesn’t just keep your gums and teeth healthy, but it also helps your breath stay fresh. We recommend brushing at least twice a day. If you happen to consume something extra sugary or starchy during the day though, don’t hesitate to brush your teeth again to keep your mouth even cleaner.
Floss Once Daily
Another step you should take on a daily basis is flossing just once per day. We recommend flossing before you brush your teeth at night. Flossing before you brush your teeth at the end of the day will help you remove everything that’s between your teeth. When you go to brush your teeth, it will finish removing everything that was pulled out that may have stuck to the front of your teeth in the process. If you floss after you brush, you might leave some plaque or bacteria on your teeth without realizing it. At the very least, floss your teeth every night. You’re absolutely welcome to floss more than once per day for even cleaner results.
Change Your Toothbrush Every 3 Months
It’s also important to remember to change your toothbrush or toothbrush head every 3 months, and/or after you get over a cold or flu. Your toothbrush head gets worn out over time and won’t work as effectively. In addition, it also harbors lots of bacteria that you don’t need to keep reintroducing into your mouth. Set a reminder on your phone to change your toothbrush or toothbrush head every three months so you never forget. This simple task can make a huge difference in your oral health.
Eat a Healthy Diet
The last way you can benefit both your oral health and your heart is by eating a healthy diet. Try to eat lots of whole foods and not an excess of sugar or starches. Sugar and starches are what combine with the bacteria in your mouth to form plaque. You should also stay away from too many acidic foods or drinks because these can wear away your enamel. Try to limit your sugar intake, drink lots of water, and eat plenty of veggies, fruits, and lean protein. Eating more nutritious food won’t just benefit your oral health but also your overall health.
Visit the Dentist Every Six Months
You might brush off skipping a dental cleaning as not a big deal, but that’s not true. When you skip a dental cleaning, the tartar and plaque in your mouth aren’t getting removed. This can eventually result in tooth decay and/or gum disease. Additionally, it can contribute to bad breath. Lastly, skipping your dental visits every six months can mean that small problems go unnoticed and untreated. These small problems can then turn into big problems that require more invasive procedures and more severe symptoms. Make sure to never skip your biannual cleaning if you want to maintain good oral health.
If you’re overdue for a dental cleaning or have any dental problems you need to address, please contact our Rochester, NY dentists for an appointment today by calling (585) 244-3337. Taking good care of your oral health will help protect your heart!