You might think that your dental habits affect your personal appearance more than anything else, but the health of your smile can be a big indicator of your heart health. Recent studies have shown that people who have poor oral health are more likely to have heart attacks, strokes, and suffer from cardiovascular disease. There has even been research that has discovered a direct link between clogged arteries in the legs and gum disease. The simple truth is that your dental health is important for your heart.
Periodontal Disease Causes Inflammation
Although the direct cause of heart issues tied to gum disease is still under investigation, many researchers suspect that it is due to inflammation. When you develop gum disease, your levels of a certain C-reactive protein, also called CRP, rises to dangerous levels. This results in whole-body inflammation, which can increase your risk of having a heart attack. In fact, CRP levels are commonly measured to gauge a person’s general heart attack risk.
The Bacterial Link
Other researchers have worked on comparing the types of bacteria found in the mouth to the bacteria found in the arteries of people who suffer from cardiovascular disease. Because bacteria can spread throughout your body when you have dental abscesses or gum disease, these types of bacteria have been found within the blood vessels that are experiencing athlerosclerosis.
Decrease Your Risk
You might be able to decrease your risk factor for heart problems by doing something as simple as taking care of your teeth. Here are a few recommendations that might keep your mouth healthy:
• Brush and Floss Daily: To ward off periodontal disease, don’t give plaque the chance to collect along your gum line. Brush twice a day, and floss to keep pockets of infection from forming close to your gums. As you brush and floss, pay close attention to the way your teeth and gums feel, so that you can spot early signs of trouble.
• Visit The Dentist Regularly: Preventive care is about more than keeping your teeth white and pretty. Regular dental checkups can also help you to clean away plaque and tartar deposits, which can prevent periodontal disease. Also, since gum disease can be reversed if treatment is started early, your dentist might be able to help you to turn things around if you are experiencing problems.
To prevent gum disease and heart problems, take the time to understand the facts and perfect or oral hygiene regimen. If you have questions about either of these topics, please call or request an appointment online to discuss them with Dr. Edwards.