Regular visits to the dental office, including professional cleaning, fluoride treatment, and a diligent exam, are necessary to maintain long-term oral health. However, making sure your teeth are professionally cleaned and cared for on a regular basis can also reduce your risk for heart disease.
The Connection between Oral Care and Cardiovascular Disease
Over the past several years, scientist have been looking into an apparent connection between oral health—particularly the presence of gum disease—and cardiovascular health. Many studies have shown that gum disease can increase the risk of heart and cardiovascular problems. The exact connection hasn’t yet been determined, but bacteria from the mouth is found in the blood vessels, where it causes inflammation, which is believed to serve as a risk factor for atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke.
In addition, other studies have found bacteria that causes gum disease in the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Again, the exact connection isn’t yet known, but the bacteria, inflammation, and infection that characterize problems with your oral health could contribute to a range of other problems elsewhere in the body.
Maintaining Your Oral Health
Keeping your teeth and gums healthy, then, is an important part of maintaining your overall health and wellness. Everyday at-home hygiene, such as brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing, using mouthwash, or cleaning your tongue, greatly reduces your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Seeing the dentist on a regular basis is also vital. Your dentist provides:
- Professional cleaning
- Professional-strength fluoride treatment
- Visual examination of gums for signs of inflammation
- Oral cancer screening
Gum disease is difficult to diagnose on your own, since it often produces few symptoms until it becomes more serious. Your dentist, however, can examine your gums and find indications of inflammation well before gingivitis—the earliest stages of gum disease—advances to periodontitis. This early diagnosis means you can receive treatment early, prevent the inflammation from becoming an infection, avoid invasive treatment, and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Come visit our dental office to see the difference. Contact us at Dan Bush DDS today!