February 1, 2018
Did you know that the human heart beats an estimated 3.4 billion times in an 80-year lifespan? Pretty amazing, right?! In honor of your hard-working heart (and since February is National Heart Month) we wanted to talk about a surprising way to keep it healthy: take great care of your gums. You may not have known about this surprising link, but today your dentist in Beaumont will discuss how the two are related and what you can do to make sure your gums are happy. After all, since your heart works so hard to give you a long, healthy life it just makes sense to return the favor and help it along a little bit!
How Can Gum Disease Affect Your Heart?
It can be easy to forget that everything in the body is connected. Not only is there a particular kind of medical specialist for each body part, but the medical and dental fields are completely separate.
But your body knows better! What happens in one area impacts every other area, which is essentially what researchers have found when it comes to your gums and heart.
Although the link isn’t entirely understood yet, it’s thought that bacteria and inflammation in the mouth can actually be spread to the heart.
You see, plaque and tartar are mostly made of bacteria. When not effectively removed from under the gumline bacteria can easily enter the bloodstream where it travels throughout the entire body, head to toe.
Once in the heart it can cause inflammation and plaque to form, which harden and narrow the arteries, thereby contributing to heart disease.
What Can You Do For Healthier Gums?
Although there are many possible factors involved with heart disease, you can at least take this one out of the equation by doing some simple things to keep your gums healthy:
- Have regular checkups and cleanings – Your dentist will perform a gum examination at these visits to let you know if you have gum disease. If you do, they can discuss your treatment options, educate you about the disease process and give you individualized instruction on how to care for things at home.
- Brush and floss consistently – What you do each day for your hygiene routine will have a big impact! Your goal is to reduce the plaque, tartar and bacteria in your mouth before it can enter your bloodstream and travel to your heart. If you have any bleeding spots (which indicate inflammation), that’s a sign from your body to brush and floss that area a bit more.
- Use the right tools – Gum disease often results in deeper “pockets” around your teeth that make it difficult to remove plaque from under your gumline, even with regular brushing and flossing. An electric toothbrush, anti-bacterial mouthwash and oral irrigator are all examples of tools that may help you become more effective at keeping your teeth and gums clean.
About the Author
Dr. Michael R. Olson is an award-winning general, cosmetic and restorative dentist who makes it a priority to stay on top of the latest research and pass on that information to his patients. In addition to providing outstanding dentistry, he enjoys educating patients on the best way to care for both their oral and general health. If you have any questions, he can be reached via his website or at (409) 860-9600.
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