When it comes to taking care of your heart, eating well, exercising, maintaining a good weight, keeping your cholesterol and blood pressure under control, and managing stress are a few ways to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. Though it’s a lesser-known way to keep your heart in good condition, having good oral health can also have a significant impact. Read on to learn about how oral health issues, particularly gum disease, can harm your heart and what you can do to prevent it from developing.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gingivitis is the first stage of an infection of the gums called gum disease. Though it can generally be avoided with proper oral hygiene, gum disease is incredibly common and affects nearly half of adults aged 30 and older and more than 70% of adults aged 65 and older. Common symptoms include redness, inflammation, tenderness, and bleeding when brushing or flossing. Though it’s easy to treat if caught early on, if it progresses into a more severe infection called periodontitis, this can cause jawbone deterioration, gum recession, loose teeth, and tooth loss.
Oral Health & Your Heart
If periodontitis gets bad enough, the infection may spread to other parts of the body and can cause heart complications. In fact, people with gum disease are up to three times more likely to experience a heart attack, stroke, or other major cardiovascular events. Additionally, chronic inflammation can lead to other heart problems, such as atherosclerosis. This condition makes the arteries harden or thicken, which can also lead to a stroke or heart attack.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
Brushing twice and flossing once per day are key to maintaining good oral health, but a few other ways to lower your risk of gum disease include:
- Say no to tobacco – Since smoking makes people several times more likely to develop gum disease, speak with your doctor, therapist, or dentist if you need help quitting.
- Eat a healthy diet – Low-fat or fat-free dairy, lean meat, fish like salmon, and fresh fruits and veggies are full of vitamins and nutrients your smile needs to stay healthy.
- Stay hydrated – Dry mouth can lead to gum disease and a range of other oral health issues, so make sure to drink plenty of water. You can also suck on sugar-free hard candy, chew sugarless gum, or munch on crisp, fresh fruits and vegetables to increase saliva production.
- Visit the dentist – Set up a visit with your dentist every six months for checkups and cleanings. This will allow them to detect oral health issues like gum disease in their early stages so they’re easier to treat.
As if there weren’t already enough reasons to take care of your smile, an unhealthy mouth can do damage to your heart. By maintaining good oral health, you’ll be able to enjoy a well-functioning heart and a mouth full of gorgeous pearly whites!
About the Practice
The highly-skilled Medford team at Giamberardino Dental Care offers exceptional oral health services that can help you keep your smile looking its best. If you’re showing signs of gum disease like inflammation, redness, or tenderness, Dr. Giamberardino can do a thorough exam to determine the severity of the issue and administer the treatment you need. Are you ready to set up an appointment or do you want more information about gum disease treatment? If so, visit their website or call their office at (781) 396-3800 to get started.