Did you realize that your overall health, and especially your heart health is influenced by your oral health? In fact, it’s becoming increasingly common for the two to be linked and one of the most important connections is periodontal or gum disease. Worryingly, it’s estimated that more than 80% of adults in the United States are living with some degree of gum disease which is often undiagnosed. Usually, any form of gum disease is easily detected by your dentist, but all too frequently people will neglect to go to the dentist regularly, especially if their teeth look and feel okay. While many people will see their healthcare provider regularly, the focus of these visits isn’t generally on oral health.
When you have moderate or advanced gum disease, your risk of heart disease could be higher compared with someone with healthy gums. Also, your oral health can provide valuable clues about several different health conditions, including those affecting your heart.
How Are Heart Health and Oral Health Related?
Whatever you may imagine, your oral health is in no way separate from your general health, and the two are closely linked. At any time, your mouth probably harbors several hundred species of bacteria and problems can arise when numbers of harmful bacteria increase to such a degree that they affect your gum health. When this occurs, these bacteria cause infection and inflammation in your gums, and this can create a range of symptoms. One of the earliest signs that something is wrong with your gums is noticing blood on your toothbrush or in the bathroom sink. Other symptoms include gums that look puffy, red or swollen. As the disease worsens, teeth begin to look longer as the gums pull away from the teeth, and by this stage, you could notice a nasty taste in your mouth that you cannot get rid of, or that you have persistent bad breath.
Once your gums begin to bleed, bacteria from your mouth can enter your body through your bloodstream and is why poor oral health can negatively impact your general health. If these bacteria reach your heart, they can cause inflammation which may result in an infection of the inner lining of the heart called endocarditis, or other conditions such as atherosclerosis where the arteries become clogged. People with heart conditions and who require treatment will often need to get clearance from their dentist first, receiving treatment for severe gum disease before they can have surgery because the connection between these diseases is so important. Also, people with certain types of heart disease may need to take antibiotics before they can safely receive dental treatment.
Excellent Dental Hygiene Is Essential for a Healthy Heart
If you are ever tempted to skip your oral hygiene routine, it’s worth remembering that this could put your heart at risk. At the very least, it puts you at far greater risk of losing teeth! Luckily, it is relatively easy to maintain a healthy mouth, and even though gum disease is common, you don’t need to become part of these statistics.
How to Maintain a Healthy Mouth
You must brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once-a-day. The best times to do this is first thing in the morning and last thing at night, aiming to floss just before you go to bed. It is preferable to floss last thing at night because this ensures your mouth is cleaner during sleep because the drier conditions allow bacteria to thrive. However, if flossing at night is too inconvenient then do it in the morning instead. The important thing is to make sure you floss once-a-day!
When brushing your teeth, make sure you spend at least two minutes cleaning all tooth surfaces thoroughly. Pay attention to how you brush your teeth to ensure you don’t miss out any areas. It doesn’t matter if you prefer to use a manual or an electric toothbrush as it’s all about technique. Choose a toothbrush with soft to medium bristles as any harder could damage your teeth. Make sure the toothbrush head is small enough so you can clean the teeth right at the back of your mouth and if necessary, choose a child-sized toothbrush. Brush with good quality fluoride toothpaste and look for the American Dental Association seal of approval which shows the product has been tested thoroughly for effectiveness and for safety.
Regular Dental Visits Are Vital
Regular, ongoing professional dental care is crucial for good oral health. Gum disease is often called the silent disease and for a good reason. It is very easy to overlook the initial signs that something is wrong. When you fail to go to the Dentist in Charlotte regularly, the chances are that any gum infections will soon develop into advanced periodontal disease which is much more complicated and trickier to treat. . Often it requires the attention of a dental specialist called a periodontist. A periodontist can provide advanced gum disease treatments including surgical and nonsurgical procedures, but ideally, it’s better to treat gum disease when it is still in its early stages. When caught early, gum disease or gingivitis is normally treated by having your teeth professionally cleaned and by improving your oral hygiene routine. It’s that simple!
Why Have Regular Professional Dental Cleanings?
Even if you have the best oral hygiene routine, you will almost certainly miss out some areas of your mouth. This allows plaque and the bacteria it contains to build up and to harden into something called calculus or tartar. Calculus produces toxins that will infect and inflame your gums, and this substance is hard, so it can only be removed during a professional dental cleaning. When your teeth cleaned professionally, your hygienist can identify any areas that require more attention as you brush and floss, and they can provide lots of useful information on how to brush more effectively. Dentists know that many people hate flossing and will only floss immediately before a dental appointment. If this applies to you, ask your hygienist for help and advice. They can show you how to floss properly using the correct techniques or can discuss other tools to try. There is always a solution!
Good health is beyond price and looking after your dental health is a straightforward way to help protect it.