February is American Heart Month. It’s a short 28 days to observe the most important organ in your body, but this month is an opportunity to consider all the things that go into preserving a healthy heart. How do teeth come into play? Turns out, your oral health could affect your heart health and vice versa. Here’s what you need to know about staying well.
1. Periodontal disease and heart health could be linked.
Periodontal disease – gum disease – is an inflammatory problem. Over 80 percent of Americans, most older adults, are living with this oral health problem. Often, the condition goes undiagnosed. In the beginning, the symptoms could be mild or not obvious to anyone but a dentist. If you avoid seeing your dentist for regular visits, gum disease can get the best of your gums and teeth.
Recent research has shown that there is a link between heart health and oral health. A patient with moderate to advanced gum disease is at greater risk of heart disease than someone with healthy gums. If you haven’t been diagnosed with cardiovascular problems, the presence of gum disease could be a warning sign.
2. A clean mouth is a clean body.
You should floss daily and brush your teeth at least twice a day not only to keep your teeth and mouth clean but to keep your body clean. Bacteria live happily in your mouth, but you want to do your part to prevent them – or other germs – from moving beyond your mouth.
Bacteria enter the blood stream through the mouth and, should the bacteria attach themselves to damaged areas of the heart, inflammation will occur. Endocarditis, clogged arteries, and strokes have been linked to inflammation from oral bacteria, according to the American Heart Association.
3. Recognizing the symptoms of gum disease can protect you from a host of health problems.
Early periodontal disease can be hard to self-diagnose – one major reason you should keep up with your twice annual teeth cleanings and dental check-ups. Your Johns Creek dentist will always recognize signs of gum disease that you can easily miss. If the disease has progressed, you will notice symptoms like:
- Red gums.
- Swollen gums.
- Sore gums.
- Pus around the gums and teeth.
- Gums appear to be pulling away from the teeth.
- Loose teeth.
Take care of your teeth. Take care of your heart. Get support for your well-being from Johns Creek dentist Dr. Mitul Patel at Family & Cosmetic Dental Care. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.