We’re going to take a break from craniofacial pain and sleep apnea topics to focus a little on how your oral health impacts heart disease prevention. This is a topic that is important to cover throughout the year. Brushing and flossing helps to remove the buildup of bacteria that can stick to your teeth and other areas of your mouth. If you don’t maintain these habits or visit your dentist for regular cleanings, you are putting yourself at a high risk for gum disease and heart disease.
What is the link between oral health and heart health?
Gum disease is associated with several chronic health conditions including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. That also includes a greater risk for heart attack and stroke. This may be because the bacteria that causes gum disease also causes damage to the heart and blood vessels. The bacteria may travel from your mouth to the bloodstream and go to other parts of the body such as the heart and other organs.
The other idea is that gum disease causes chronic inflammation in your mouth. Inflammation is part of your body’s normal response to injury or an infection. But if that inflammation turns chronic, it can increase the presence of inflammatory markers in your bloodstream. As a result, it causes blood vessels near the heart to narrow and raise your heart disease risk.
Tips for better oral health
The good news is there are ways you can maintain healthy teeth and gums while potentially preventing the development of heart disease. To begin, brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time. Next, floss your teeth at least once a day, especially before you go to bed each night. It is also important to schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings.
Additionally, schedule regular visits with your primary care physician. Seeing your primary care physician helps screen for common health conditions and monitor your labs. It is also important to not smoke and eat a healthy diet. And last, but not least, know how to manage stress. Stress management goes a long way toward helping your immune system and preventing disease.
Contact us at Craniofacial Pain and Dental Sleep Center of Georgia for more information on how to better care for your oral and overall health.