February is American Heart Month, which means physicians and dentists throughout the country are working to raise awareness about the importance of eating healthy, exercising, and maintaining optimal oral health. If you’re unsure how your dental hygiene habits can positively or negatively impact your heart, you’ll be surprised to learn just how closely connected the two are. If you are looking to make a few changes and take better care of yourself this year, read on to hear from a dentist in Las Cruces explain what you can be doing to better protect your smile and your heart.
Your Oral Health and Heart: How are They Connected?
When problems develop within the mouth, don’t be surprised if you begin to notice changes throughout your body as well. It’s no secret that gum disease is a serious oral health condition that wreaks havoc on your teeth, gums, bone, and ultimately, your overall health. As plaque forms, it begins to attack the soft oral tissues of your mouth, causing redness, inflammation, and infection.
In its early stage, gingivitis, the symptoms can be reversed with regular cleanings and good oral habits practiced at home. However, if it remains untreated, you can be faced with periodontitis, which is an advanced form of periodontal disease that affects your bone, causing it to weaken. As a result, you can experience gum pocket formations that easily trap bad bacteria and food particles, loose teeth, and substantial bone loss. Not to mention, the infection and inflammation can enter your bloodstream and travel to various areas of the body.
This is how your heart can be negatively affected. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. When the bacteria from the mouth reaches the blood vessels, it can cause inflammation and blood clots to form. As a result, should one of the vessels in the heart become blocked, it can trigger a heart attack or stroke.
Preventive Tips to Ensure Whole-Body Health
Whether you are taking proper care of your teeth and gums right now, the realization that your oral health can negatively impact your heart may cause you to be more proactive about your dental habits. If you want to take additional steps to safeguard your smile as well as your overall health, here are a few tips to consider:
- Be diligent about your brushing and flossing habits. Make sure you’re brushing twice daily for two minutes as well as flossing at least once a day to remove bacteria from in-between your teeth.
- Swap out sugary and starchy foods for nutrient-rich, healthy alternatives like fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, leafy greens, and lean proteins.
- Increase your daily exercise by walking, running, or even adding yoga.
- Quit smoking and/or using tobacco products, as these can put you at a greater risk for heart and gum disease.
- Maintain regular dental checkups and cleanings twice a year to ensure you are not developing periodontal disease.
Because February is Heart Health Month, take the time to re-evaluate your oral habits and overall health. If you need to make some changes, talk to your physician and dentist about what you can do to ensure a better quality of life for you, your smile, and your heart.
About the Practice
Painted Skies Dental Center offers a comfortable, caring, and cheerful atmosphere. You can enjoy going to the dentist when you come to our office! Not only will we educate you about your health and discuss options with you, but we’ll provide the treatment you feel is right for you. In addition to preventative, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry, we are here to discuss ways you can improve your oral hygiene and make a lasting impact on your heart health, too! To learn more, contact us via our website or by calling (575) 233-6648.