Heart disease claims more victims each year than cancer, diabetes, and respiratory conditions. In fact, about 610,000 people die of cardiovascular conditions in the United States every year — that accounts for one in four deaths! There are many different risk factors for heart disease, including old age, high blood pressure, and obesity. But did you know that poor oral health can also affect that remarkable organ that keeps your blood pumping? Your dentist in Vero Beach is here to talk about the link between gum disease and heart problems.
Bacteria from the Mouth Gets Everywhere — Including the Heart
The mouth is, arguably, the filthiest place in your entire body. Hundreds of types of bacteria exist there at any given time. Some of these bacteria are harmless or even helpful for your body. Other types, however, have danger written all over them.
Advanced periodontal (gum) problems that cause the pink tissue around your teeth to bleed provides an open invitation for harmful bacteria to enter your bloodstream. Some types of the naughty little microscopic organisms even have clever ways of disguising themselves from antibiotics.
Eventually, the bacteria attach themselves to fatty deposits in the vessels around the heart, which can increase the risk of blood clots, which in turn makes it more likely that you’ll suffer from a heart attack or stroke.
Just how strong is the link between gum disease and heart problems? Research has found that people who have periodontal health issues are almost twice as likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease as people whose gums are in good shape.
Protecting Your Heart
You might already be doing some things to keep your heart healthy, such as eating lots of whole grains, exercising regularly, and keeping an eye on your weight. But there is even more you can do: Take care of your oral health.
Here are a few tips to help you prevent gum disease:
- Brush twice a day, but don’t brush too hard. You can accidentally damage your gums if you’re too enthusiastic about oral hygiene.
- Floss at least once a day so you can clean out the tight spaces between your teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach.
- Avoid foods and drinks that aren’t good for your teeth and gums, such as soda, potato chips, and candy.
- Visit your dentist twice a year. Receiving regular professional cleanings does wonders for battling bacteria and reducing your risk of gum disease.
If you notice that your gums aren’t as healthy as they should be (for example, if they are bleeding or receding), head to your dentist as soon as possible. Getting treated for gum disease could save your heart — and maybe even save your life!
About Our Practice
Drs. Adam Jones and Giuliana Diaz Jones are your proud dentists in Vero Beach. They’re passionate about helping their patients have great oral health. If you’re concerned about gum disease or otsher conditions that affect your mouth, please get in touch with our office at 772-234-5353.