The American Heart Association recognizes February as American Heart Month. Protecting your cardiovascular health can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. Although you may not realize it, your oral health can have a direct impact on your heart.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) costs billions of dollars each year in treatment, medication, and disability claims. In fact, heart disease kills more women than all forms of cancer combined. Understanding how your oral health can contribute to heart health can provide life-saving information.
Research has linked dental issues such as gum disease with increased chances of cardiovascular disease. Individuals with severe gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer heart problems as those without any oral health problems. Caused by an infection in your gums and soft tissues, gum disease produces inflammation in the affected tissue. The oral bacteria can enter your blood stream and create a defensive reaction throughout the body.
Take the proper steps to prevent gum disease and promote good oral health by following these helpful hints:
• Don’t skip your checkups. These appointments allow your dentist to examine your mouth and look for any signs of gum disease. Treating the problem before it gets worse can protect your overall wellbeing.
• Eat right. Make sure you choose healthy foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.
• Maintain good home care. Brush twice a day and floss regularly to remove plaque and bacteria from your mouth.
• Quit smoking. Tobacco use increases your chances of developing gum disease and it makes fighting the condition more difficult.