February is synonymous with red, pink, roses, and of course, HEARTS – all because of Valentine’s Day! This time of the year is home to the holiday that romancers look forward to most, but it’s also American Heart Month, which is an effort to raise awareness for the importance of heart health. Recent studies have shown that the health of your gums can actually impact your heart. That’s why your dentist has included some vital information about this surprising connection as well as what you can do to keep your mouth and heart healthy!
Healthy Gums, Healthy Heart!
Teeth often get the spotlight when it comes to dentistry, but your gums are just as important. They support your pearly whites, keeping them stable and in place. However, gum disease (a common issue that affects about half of the American population) infects and inflames the gums, causing permanent tissue damage, jawbone deterioration, and even tooth loss if left untreated.
Unfortunately, the problems don’t stop with your oral health. Research has shown a direct link between gum disease and your heart. Untreated gum disease can increase your risk of issues like strokes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular complications by up to 20%. How? The bacteria that causes inflammation can get into your blood stream, narrowing your arteries, making it more difficult for your blood to travel to your heart.
How Can You Prevent Gum Disease?
Thankfully, gum disease can be completely preventable if you know the best steps to take. It all starts with a good oral healthcare routine at home, which consists of brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash. Brush your teeth twice a day, angling your brush at 45-degrees on the gumline to effectively remove lingering bacteria and plaque. Each brushing session should last 2 minutes for the most thorough cleaning. When flossing, take your time to gently move the floss up and down, removing pesky food debris and germs from your teeth and gums. You can finish up your routine by using a nonalcoholic mouthwash to clean areas of your mouth that couldn’t be reached with brushing and flossing.
Additionally, practice healthy lifestyle choices like avoiding the use of tobacco and heavily consuming alcohol to lower your risk of gum disease. Last but certainly not least, visit your dentist for checkups and cleanings twice a year. These appointments allow a professional hygienist to clean areas of the mouth that were missed at home, and your dentist will catch any signs of gum disease early while it’s still reversible.
Who knew your gums could affect the wellbeing of the rest of your body? Remember these tips to enjoy a healthy smile and heart for February and beyond!
Meet the Dentist
Dr. Eric P. Buck is a highly trained dentist who understands the importance of preventive care. However, he has also taken many hours of continuing education to offer the latest and greatest periodontal (gum disease) therapy. For any questions, he can be reached through his website or by phone at (614) 420-2407.