You know that it’s important to take care of your teeth, so that you can have a healthy, beautiful smile! What you may not know, though, is that the health of your smile can affect the health of the rest of your body. Especially in this month of hearts and flowers, it seems like a good time to tell you about the link between your dental health and your heart.
Neglecting your oral hygiene leads to bad breath and cavities, because of bacteria growing and thriving in your mouth. That same bacteria can spread from your mouth throughout your body through the bloodstream. When it reaches your heart, bacteria can latch onto damaged areas, causing inflammation and infection. Endocarditis, an infection of your heart’s inner lining, can be the result of oral bacteria, as can cardiovascular conditions like clogged arteries and stroke.
Gum disease puts you at particular risk for these kinds of complications. Chronic gum conditions like gingivitis or periodontal disease, when left undiagnosed and unmanaged, put a person at extreme risk for heart disease. It’s important to note that even if your gums aren’t noticeably inflamed, bad oral hygiene and a buildup of plaque can increase your risk of gum disease. Damage to the blood vessels in your gums is one of the primary ways bacteria gets into your bloodstream.
How do you know if your gums are unhealthy? According to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), the signs of gum disease include:
- Gums that are red, swollen, and sore to the touch
- Gums that bleed when you brush, floss, or eat
- The presence of pus or other signs of infection in the mouth
- Gums that seem to be pulling away from the teeth
- Bad breath, or a bad taste in the mouth
- Teeth that feel loose or like they are shifting
What are the best ways to prevent problems with your dental health? Pay attention to your oral hygiene and see your dentist regularly. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily. Brush your teeth with a soft-bristled brush that can reach every tooth surface in your mouth, and use an ADA-approved toothpaste. Even if your mouth is currently unhealthy, putting these practices into place can increase your gum health in as little as four weeks. It’s also important to see your dentist regularly, for checkups and professional tooth cleaning. By taking care of your dental health, you’ll preserve your heart health and your smile.
If you’re ready to find a team committed to your beautiful smile, Belmont Dental Group is ready to meet you! We cover all kinds of dental care, from teeth cleaning to cosmetic dentistry to emergency care, and we believe in helping our patients be partners in their own dental health. Call us today at (617) 484-2431 or contact us through our website for a consultation.