By being proactive about your oral health, you can also protect your heart health. Studies now show a direct link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease. Keep reading to learn more about how your oral health and heart health are related, as well as what you can do to minimize your risk.
How Oral Health is Linked to Heart Health
Studies now show a linkage between poor oral hygiene and an increased risk of developing heart disease. When your mouth isn’t properly cleaned, bacteria and plaque can build up and along your gum line, leading to tooth decay and periodontal disease. These bacteria can also enter your bloodstream and increase overall levels of inflammation in your body. Poor dental health is shown to exacerbate heart problems by increasing your risk of bacterial infection, which leads to inflammation in your blood vessels and weakening of your heart valves.
Who is at Risk?
Today, more than 80% of American adults have some form of gum disease. Those with the highest risk are patients who are actively dealing with gingivitis or advanced periodontal disease. Adopting healthy habits can greatly reduce your risk of both gum disease and heart disease.
Symptoms of Poor Oral Hygiene
The following are common symptoms of poor oral hygiene. If you suspect you are experiencing one of these symptoms, please schedule an appointment with your dentist.
- Tooth Pain
- Bleeding or Swollen Gums
- Dry Mouth
- Bad Breath
- Tooth Decay
Given the link between poor oral hygiene and systemic health problems, prevention is the most important step. Thankfully, there are many ways you can reduce your risk of gum and heart disease. Good oral hygiene practices, coupled with routine dental checkups, will help prevent inflammation. To take care of your teeth and gums, brush twice a day for two minutes, floss once a day, and use mouthwash regularly. In addition, refrain from smoking, eat a diet high in vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins, and exercise regularly.
If you notice any signs of poor oral hygiene, book an appointment with your dentist. He or she will advise you on the best ways to take care of your oral health, as well as recommend the best treatment for your particular condition. If you are concerned about heart disease prevention, talk with your doctor about what you can do to minimize your risk.