When you take the time to brush and floss your teeth each day, you know that you are being proactive about your oral health to foster a healthy smile, but did you know that you are also reducing your risk for heart disease? New research has found a direct link between the health of your gums and your risk for cardiovascular disease. Now, you can help to protect your heart with the proper oral hygiene habits at home and regular care from your dentist in Lawrenceville.
Gum Disease and Your Heart
In addition to tooth decay, the biggest threat to your oral health involves gum disease. This is a preventable infection that occurs due to bacteria that is found in plaque and tartar accumulations that result from poor oral hygiene habits. Although it is easily preventable, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over half of adults in the United States have a form of the infection.
When the gum tissue becomes infected, it begins to cause the supporting structures for the teeth to deteriorate if it is not quickly treated. Over time, this can lead to the loss of your teeth; however, the complications do not stop there. The bacteria that is responsible for the infection can enter the bloodstream when you chew.
After it enters the bloodstream, it circulates throughout the body. Your body will naturally respond to the infection with inflammation and swelling, which will cause arterial plaque to form. This causes your arteries to narrow or become blocked, increasing your risk for heart attack or stroke.
It is estimated that those with untreated gum disease are twice as likely to develop cardiovascular disease. With roughly 85 million Americans having heart disease and 200 million Americans suffering from gum disease, the infection could be a large contributing factor for cardiovascular complications.
Protect Your Heart Health
Now, while you take the time to promote a healthy, beautiful smile, you can also help to protect your heart health. To reduce your risk for gum and heart disease, there are several steps you can take at home:
- Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each session.
- Floss in between each tooth before going to bed at night.
- Visit your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and checkup.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Stop using tobacco products.
Get a Healthy Smile Today
Even with the best preventive steps, gum disease can still develop. If you have red, swollen, or bleeding gums, contact your dentist right away to treat the infection before it causes larger complications to your mouth and heart.
About Dr. Bruce Carter
Dr. Bruce Carter has provided comprehensive dental services since 1985. He provides individualized solutions to help you reach and maintain optimal oral health. In addition to preventive and restorative care, he offers many areas of specialty, including periodontal therapy. If you have gum disease or notice changes to their health, contact our office today to schedule an appointment.