In recent years, researchers have discovered a strong link between poor dental health and heart disease. In fact, having untreated gum disease can make you 20% more likely to develop heart conditions. While there has always been a solid case for maintaining good oral health, the confirmation that an unhealthy mouth can lead to a host of other serious complications in other areas of the body gives a further reason to focus on taking good care of your teeth and gums.
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is inflammation of the gums. It can lead to the breakdown of the gums, teeth and bone tissues that hold them in place. Gum disease is very common and requires consistent oral care habits and regular dental care to ensure it does not persist to the point of causing disease and other health issues throughout the body. Here are some common signs and symptoms that gum disease is developing:
- Your gums are red, swollen and sore to the touch.
- Your gums bleed when you eat, brush or floss.
- You see pus or other signs of infection around the gums and teeth.
- Your gums look as if they are “pulling away” from the teeth.
- You frequently have bad breath or notice a bad taste in your mouth.
- Some of your teeth are loose or feel as if they are moving away from the other teeth.
Heart disease, including heart attacks and strokes, is caused by the narrowing or blockage of important blood vessels. This can happen when bacteria and other germs from your mouth spread to other parts of your body through the bloodstream. When these bacteria reach the heart, they can attach themselves to any damaged area and cause inflammation. This can result in illnesses such as endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart. Other cardiovascular conditions such as clogged arteries and stroke have also been linked to inflammation caused by oral bacteria.
As you can see, there is more danger associated with gum disease than just those that affect your mouth. Proper oral care habits and regular visits to your dentist can help to keep harmful bacteria out of the rest of your body and far away from such a critical area like your heart. Treat gum disease seriously, or better yet, follow these important guidelines to ensure you don’t develop gum disease in the first place.
- Brush your teeth and tongue at least twice per day. Ask your dentist to demonstrate the correct technique for brushing. Avoid allowing plaque to build up.
- Floss between your teeth and gums at least once per day.
- Use CTX4 mouthwash regularly.
- Refrain from smoking or chewing tobacco.
- Eat a diet high in vegetables, high-fibre foods, low-sugar fruits and high quality proteins.
- Maintain healthy levels of blood sugar, especially if you have diabetes.
- See a dentist at least twice per year for regular cleanings, checkups and preventative hygiene.
- Be mindful of early signs of gum disease, such as bleeding gums and constant bad breath. Let your dentist know if you have any of these symptoms.
Your dentist is not just your oral health champion, they are a whole body ally and an important part of your overall health care team. Be sure to see them regularly and discuss any concerns or other factors that contribute to your oral health with them. When your dentist has a holistic view of your full body health, they can provide you with the best care and support possible.
At Ambiance Dental, we get to know our patients overall health and lifestyle factors so we can advise them of the options that are truly best for their total wellbeing. Visit us for a Comprehensive Evaluation today!
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