Every February we recognize American Heart Month to help raise awareness and education about cardiovascular disease. According to the World Health Organization, heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, taking nearly 18 million lives every year. Certainly, understanding the contributors to heart disease can go a long way toward helping us all live longer, healthier lives.
Many may not realize that there are associations between the health of our teeth and gums and that of our hearts. In fact, studies have found a link between oral health habits and cardiovascular disease, and gum disease has been associated with a higher risk of heart attack. Harvard Medical School even estimates that the risk may be as much as two or three times greater. With nearly half of adults suffering from gum disease, it’s important to better understand this link and how we can help support our hearts by taking care of our oral health.
How exactly does gum disease impact our hearts?
A common understanding among researchers is that the bacteria that exist in your mouth when you have gum disease are able to enter your bloodstream, causing inflammation that increases the risk of heart disease. Taking care of your gums is especially important for those who already have heart conditions like heart valve disease, or those at greater risk of endocarditis. It’s a good idea to inform your dentist of your medical history during your visit, and talk to your medical doctor about any major dental procedures in advance.
How can I take care of my smile and heart at the same time?
While it is important to note that there are many contributors to cardiovascular disease, taking care of our mouths is one way we can support a healthy heart and our overall wellness. The good news is it’s easy to prevent and treat gum disease, and we can help you along the way. By following proper oral hygiene habits and making regular visits to your dentist, you can have a healthy smile and an overall healthier you.
To learn more about the connection between oral health and overall health, click here. You can also visit us by scheduling online.