When you think of February, Valentine’s Day probably quickly comes to mind. However, there is another reason why you should be thinking of hearts. February is American Heart Month! This is the perfect time to learn more about your body so you can stay healthy. One step to keep your cardiovascular health in good standing is maintaining an excellent oral hygiene routine to prevent gum disease. Your dentist in San Marcos warns that the two have more in common than you may think. Continue reading to learn more about the relationship between the health of your smile and heart.
How Are Oral and Cardiovascular Health Connected?
There is actually a connection between gum disease and heart disease. Approximately 178 million Americans who are 30 years of age or older are dealing with periodontal disease to some degree. This is an infection of the tissue that surrounds the teeth. Ultimately, when left to progress, it can lead to irreversible issues like gum recession, loose teeth, tooth loss, and bone loss.
Heart disease is a blood vessel disorder that can trigger a heart attack when blood flow is blocked. People who have gum disease are three times more likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or another serious cardiovascular event. It isn’t exactly clear what the relationship is between periodontal disease and heart health, but inflammation caused by gum disease is a contributor.
Tips to Combat Periodontal Disease from Your Dentist in San Marcos
Even though gum disease is very common, there are steps that you can take to prevent it from occurring in the first place:
- Brush Twice Daily: To remove food particles, plaque, and bacteria from the teeth, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste to brush twice daily.
- Floss Every Day: Brushing isn’t enough by itself. There are certain areas that your toothbrush’s bristles cannot reach. Be sure that you are flossing each day to remove plaque and bacteria from between the teeth and beneath the gumline.
- See Your Dentist: You should see your dentist in San Marcos every six months for regular cleanings and checkups. If they notice that you are showing any signs of gum disease, it can be treated early on before becoming too serious.
- Don’t Smoke: Using tobacco products doubles your risk for developing periodontal disease and is also linked to oral cancer. Talk to your doctor, friends, and family about the best ways for you to quit for good!
- Know Your Risk: There are many factors that play a role in your gum disease risk. Keep things like your age, genetics, and diet in mind. If you have concerns, discuss them with your dentist.
Many variables contribute to the health of your heart, and your oral health is no exception. By taking steps during American Heart Month and year-round to keep your smile in good shape, you may even be able to save your life!
About the Author
Dr. Robert Donnelly served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps before heading to The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio to earn his dental doctorate. A lifelong student of his field, Dr. Donnelly has achieved Master status in the Academy of General Dentistry, and he graduated from the Las Vegas Institute of Cosmetic Dentistry. During a dental cleaning and exam, part of his process is to look for any signs of gum disease. You can make an appointment on his website or call (512) 396-5225.