You already know brushing, flossing and regular visits to the dentist are essential for maintaining good oral health, but taking care of your teeth is more important than you think. Maintaining a healthy smile can also help ward off heart disease and other serious medical issues. Here’s what you need to know to keep your smile and body healthy.
It’s all about bacteria. The connection between oral health and heart disease has everything to do with the spread of bacteria, and other germs, from your mouth to your blood stream. When oral bacteria gets into the blood stream, they can make their way to the heart. The bacteria can then attach to any damaged areas, causing inflammation and other issues. In addition to heart problems like endocarditis, an infection in the heart’s inner lining, and clogged arteries, the oral bacteria inflammation has also been linked to strokes.
Chronic gum problems present a higher risk of heart problems. The bad oral bacteria that causes inflammation in the heart is the same bacteria associated with gum disease, also known as gingivitis, and infection. Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky, colorless substance on teeth. The plaque that remains on or between teeth can harden into tartar. The longer tartar and plaque build-up on the teeth, the greater the risk of gingivitis, inflammation of the gums.
While you can fix gingivitis and its symptoms—red, swollen and bleeding gums—with better oral health practices, periodontitis is trickier. When there’s inflammation around the tooth, plaque infiltrates the gum line, causing the body to fight the bacteria. Teeth, bones and gums are often damaged during the battle. Once this bacteria enters the blood stream, it can impact the heart and other organs.
Preventative care is the best defense against heart disease and other oral health ailments. In addition to brushing and flossing daily, it’s important to keep up with regular dentist appointments for cleanings and exams. For the latest information about your specific needs, come see the friendly staff at Tendercare Dental! Where we strive to bring more smiles to life itself!